Most new employees of local school districts will now have their fingerprints for background checks taken at Riverside-Brookfield High School.
This summer RBHS purchased a fingerprint machine and began taking fingerprints of its own new employees and volunteers and offered the service for new employees of its feeder school districts.
Riverside Elementary School District 96 and Brookfield-LaGrange Park Elementary School District 95 have already accepted the offer and have sent new employees to RBHS for fingerprinting.
Komarek School District 94 plans on using RBHS in the future, but did not use the high school this year, according to District 94 Superintendent Brian Ganan.
“We had a lot of hires this year so we just thought we’d keep things as-is for now,” Ganan said while adding that he expects to send new hires to RBHS in the future. “It’s just a case of us making the move. There’s no reason why we’re not.”
The local school districts had been sending new employees to different places for fingerprinting. Komarek has been sending new hires to the West 40 Intermediate Service Center of the Illinois State Board of Education, which is located in Hillside. District 95 also used to send possible new hires to West 40 for fingerprinting.
Before getting a fingerprint scanning machine of its own RBHS had been sending new employees to the Riverside Police Department to get fingerprinted. District 96 had been sending new hires to a private firm called Accurate Biometrics.
RBHS Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said that being able to fingerprint new hires at RBHS is a convenience to job applicants.
“We do a lot of background checks,” said Skinkis adding that coaches and other volunteers at RBHS must undergo background checks as well as employees of contractors who work at RBHS, such as custodians and foodservice employees.
The fingerprinting machine RBHS purchased this summer cost $7,500 and includes an $800 annual service fee.
“It’s the same type of machine that the police departments use,” Skinkis said.
School districts will save a little bit of money by paying RBHS, which will charge $45 per employee, for fingerprinting.
“We thought was a fair price so that it would cover our work and the service fee,” Skinkis said adding that RBHS is not trying to make money by doing fingerprinting.
“The goal is to break even, to try to cover that $800 fee every year,” Skinkis said. “This is not a revenue generator.”
Komarek currently pays West 40 $55 per employee and District 96 paid Accurate Biometrics $65 per person. District 95 used to pay West 40 $50. Before purchasing the fingerprint machine, RBHS paid about $52 per person to obtain fingerprints.
The Riverside Police Department charges $25 to take fingerprints for background checks and RBHS paid an additional $27 to the Illinois State Police to run the background check.
Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel estimated that not doing fingerprints for RBHS would cost the department a little over $1,000 annually in lost revenue.
Once fingerprints are taken they are run through databases maintained by the Illinois State Police and the FBI. The results of the background checks from these agencies are sent directly to the school district planning to hire the person being fingerprinted.
Local school superintendents say this is just one way local school districts work together.
“Even though we don’t have consolidated schools we still consolidate services to save money,” said Mark Kuzniewski the superintendent of Brookfield-LaGrange Park Elementary School District 95.