Slow state background checks leave hundreds of vacancies in Huntsville schools

Published: Aug. 14, 2019 at 10:21 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Every school employee from the cafeteria to the classroom must get a state background check, according to Alabama law. With the start of the school year across the state it appears that process is slower, which has resulted in hundreds of vacancies in school systems.

“We have over 100 people in this limbo just in our company here in Huntsville," explained head of customer experience with SPUR, Chris Hand. "In other parts of the state we have even more people waiting on backgrounds.”

SPUR, a hiring firm contracted by Huntsville City Schools, explains teacher assistants, cafeteria workers and custodial staff are just some of the few positions in limbo. Company representatives say they have hired people for the positions, but backgrounds are delayed two to three weeks. The process generally takes two to three days.

“I would say that background checks are important. The safety of our children is definitely first," said April Lumsden. She has two children in Huntsville City Schools and is PTA president at Challenger Elementary.

“It is sad though that there isn’t enough personnel to follow through and do the paperwork to get what they need to do those background checks,” Lumsden said.

The exact cause for the backlog is unknown.

WAFF 48 News reached out to the Alabama State Department of Education Wednesday. The director of communications shared he would look into the matter. Though, we’ve also learned with every school system returning to class at one time there are generally delays.

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