McKeesport schools review background check policies
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
To improve school safety, McKeesport Area School District is reviewing policies on background checks for volunteers and possibly designating a point person regarding Megan's Law issues.
School directors conducted their first reading of such policies at Wednesday's meeting. The second reading will be next month, followed by formal adoption at the November meeting.
School director and policy committee chairperson Mary Jane Keller said the board will use that time to review and make any adjustments to the policies before they are approved.
Keller said the district already has a policy requiring background checks for coaches and long-term volunteers. One-time volunteers such as a parent bringing in food or chaperoning a dance are not required to go through a background check.
Background checks for “a mother who comes in with cupcakes for a Halloween party would not be as extensive” as a background check on someone more regularly involved with students on campus.
“You want to make sure it's just some of the basic clearances for them,” Keller said.
Megan's Law provides a means for protecting the public, especially children, from victimization by sexual offenders.
School director Trisha Gadson said the policy could designate a district official as a point person communicating any Megan's Law-related issue to parents and other personnel.
Issues could be someone listed on the state police website moving into or out of the district or nearby a school.
School directors awarded bids for furniture for Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate to Bulldog Office Products. Costs include $301,959.57 for classroom furniture, $50,321.56 for office furniture, $29,322.18 for cafeteria furniture, and $72,551.12 for miscellaneous furniture. Purchases will be made through the capital projects fund.
The board approved an agreement with Wesley Spectrum Services to provide special education services.
The board approved spending $36,723 for classroom shades at Francis McClure Intermediate.
A cultural diversity meeting is being planned in Dravosburg for October. Gadson said residents in the borough will be able to voice their concerns to school directors at the meeting. A specific date and meeting location were not set.
Board president Patricia Maksin and Superintendent Timothy Gabauer lauded students and staffers for a smooth start to the school year.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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