Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials say their latest figures show that nearly 1,200 new and re-hired employees who were never fingerprinted during background checks have gone through that process with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office. About 2,100 still need to be fingerprinted.
Last year, CMS hired a Huntersville company, Background Investigation Bureau, BIB, to implement a new background check process. It was supposed to provide a speedier, deeper dive into potential employees’ histories through the use of more extensive databases from additional localities and agencies.
BIB’s contract with CMS also calls for a nightly screening of all CMS employees for state charges or convictions. But even though district officials say BIB has the latest technology to handle background checks, the company does not have the capability to do fingerprinting. Although technology makes it possible to obtain information sought by employers in background checks without fingerprinting, CMS policy requires it. Superintendent Clayton Wilcox, who abruptly resigned effective Aug. 2, told WBTV that it was his decision to drop that requirement in BIB’s contract, without requesting that the school board change the policy.
CMS spokesperson Renee McCoy says the using the sheriff’s office was their only option to get the fingerprinting done.
“The sheriff's department was the only avenue able to accommodate our needs the quickest as they are the only ones able to fingerprint and submit to the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) electronically,” McCoy said.
CMS is paying BIB nearly $347,000 to conduct background checks, which includes a $110,000 payment increase after the district required them to include all district employees continuously on background checks and not just new hires. BIB does not offer fingerprinting in its services and CMS officials have not said how they plan to handle that requirement in the future.
“There is not an end date to the use of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in the fingerprinting of CMS employees,” McCoy said.
Fingerprinting costs $10 per person. McCoy says employees will not have to pay for the fingerprinting if they use the CMS code they are given. She says they expect to have all CMS employees fingerprinted before school starts on Aug. 26.