As things currently stand in Connecticut, new teachers can sometimes wait up to 30 days for their employment background checks to clear. That lengthy waiting time leaves prospective employees in limbo while they wait for their background check reports to come back, and the worst part is, they might not even get the job. For some teachers in search of new jobs, this wait time can be a cause of economic hardship; for others, it's just a source of frustration. Some school districts even allow teachers to start work before their background check reports come back, a risky proposition that could put students in danger.
The good news is that Connecticut's 30-day wait time might soon be a thing of the past. The state legislature is considering a bill that would drastically expedite the process of teacher background checks. The legislation would give all school boards in the state a period of five days to perform teacher background checks. That's not to say that newly hired teachers would be working within a week after receiving a conditional job offer. Background checks take time, especially those run through state databases, and Connecticut's school boards don't really have the power to cut through backlogs or make that part of the process any faster. What the bill would accomplish would be to make sure that background checks are submitted within a few days of hiring or job offer. It would put pressure on both employer and applicant to submit to background checks as soon as possible, and would apply a sense of urgency to the process where there really isn't any urgency right now.
From the looks of it, the legislation is going to have no trouble making its way to the desk of Governor Dannel Malloy. The bill recently received unanimous approval from the Connecticut House of Representatives, with the vote 139-0. It will now head to the State Senate for a second vote, and then on to the desk of the governor. The new background check bill comes after several struggles with corruption and sour hires in Connecticut, particularly in the capital city of Hartford. In 2014, for instance, FUSE, a charter school company based in Hartford, shut down when news broke that its director was a convicted felon who had served prison time and lied about his academic credentials. Worse, the CEO hired a number of felons to work at charter schools operated by his company, one of whom allegedly stole nearly $10,000 from school accounts for her own personal gambling purposes.