On November 14, 2014 we provided you with an opinion letter on House Bill 435/Act 153 concerning the Certification of Clearances for Volunteers and School Employees.

In that letter we stated that all school employees covered under the school code, or anyone working at a school district who has contact with children, is to provide new certifications of background clearances that include FBI, State Police and DPW’s Child Abuse Registry every 36 months (3 years).

It was clear in the language of the law that the renewal of certifications of clearances for school employees is required within thirty-six (36) months of the school employee’s most recent certification, effective December 31, 2014.  For example, if the school employee’s certification is 36 months old on January 1, 2015, the school employee must obtain a recertification by January 1, 2015.  If a school employee’s current certification is older than 36 months on December 31, 2014, a recertification is required within one (1) year of the effective date of the Act (December 31, 2014) and that date would be December 31, 2015.

However, the law is unclear as to whether or not current school employees that never obtained background clearances were required to obtain the three (3) clearances by December 31, 2014 (the effective date of the Act).  The PSBA has issued new policy recommendations as of November 24, 2014 that require all school employees without background checks to comply by December 31, 2014.  PDE has indicated that DPW will issue by mid-December guidance on this issue. As soon as we receive specific guidance from PDE we will forward this information to you.

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit is preparing to work with the school districts in Allegheny County to expedite the fingerprinting process as well as advising school districts on maintaining alert systems going forward.

Please contact us to determine how the District should communicate this information to school employees.

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Christina L. Lane

Christina Lane is an accomplished school, municipal, labor and employment attorney representing public sector employers. She has extensive knowledge and experience with Title IX and often serves as a third-party investigator.