Background checks pose challenge for KY schools

The state of Kentucky is looking to save some money within the state's court system.

Kentucky courts now require their employees take 3 unpaid furlough days this year because of cuts in state funding.  That means courthouses will close statewide August 6th, September 4th and October 15th.

Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. says funding is "Far short" of what's necessary to operate the state's courts over the next two years.

In Boone county with the state's 3rd largest school district, officials say the unfunded mandate is going to be very expensive. In Kenton county, assistant school superintendent Dr. Kim Banta says they just can't shoulder the costs. Banta says "We won't finance it. We'll pass it on to the customer so to speak."

The Kenton County school district needs about 3500 background checks a year and at $10 apiece it can place a heavy burden on a cash strapped school system. Banta says, "With hiring let's say 300 employees including subs, bus drivers, teachers, cafeteria workers, all that, its not a financial burden the school district is going to be able to take on."

Banta says the school district also has more than 10,000 volunteers who also need background checks. "You're asking somebody to do a good work and now here we need you to give us ten dollars for your background check."

In our commitment to balanced news we reached out to Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton to get his side of the story. Minton says, "We have a budget reduction in excess of 25-million dollars."

Minton says the more than 200,000 criminal background checks performed every year will now have to come at a price.  "Its a significant under taking in terms of the number of employees involved in that process and the number of hours it takes to perform those services and we regret that we're not going to be able to offer that service for free."

There are some school districts that may be able to absorb the costs, but in these days of shrinking budgets the number of those school districts is likely to be small.

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