Condit wants ‘common sense,’ local control in school background checks

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 28-Dec-2010

State Rep. Donnie Condit said Tuesday (December 28) he plans to introduce legislation that would bring “more common sense” to a state requirement that schools request national criminal background checks on prospective employees.

“I want to be clear that I support background checks on all new hires at any school,” Condit, a McAlester Democrat, said. “The problem is that when Senate Bill 2199 became law, it created unnecessary hardships for substitute and part-time teachers. For example, in McAlester, a substitute only makes $60 a day. The substitute has to pay $55 each year for a background check. This means that a substitute makes almost no money on their first day. I would like to see a one-time background check conducted instead.”

Condit is part of the incoming freshman class of 2011 which consists of 20  members — four Democrats and 16 Republicans.

He noted that after working for 30 years in the McAlester school district, he had to undergo a background check after he came back out of retirement.

“When I retired July 1, I sat out the required 60 days and then went back to work halftime for the district,” Condit said. “I had to have a background check even though I’d been working there for 30 years. It just seemed like the current law could use a little tweaking.”

S.B. 2199 required school districts to request national criminal background checks on any person seeking employment with a school in Oklahoma. Any search required a payment of $50 by the employee or prospective employee to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The district could then reimburse the employee pending search results.