December 6, 2011 • Vol. XXXV • No. 20
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Dec. 31 Deadline Set for Board
Member Background Checks

The New Jersey Department of Education is setting a Dec. 31 deadline for school board members to comply with the new law requiring criminal history background checks.

The NJDOE’s Criminal History Review Unit notified NJSBA this week that it intends to send notifications to non-compliant school board members and charter school trustees stating, “As of the date of this letter, you have not undergone the mandatory criminal history background investigation.  Accordingly, if you have not completed the process by December 31, 2011, your membership on the board must immediately cease.”

Approximately 5,000 school board members and charter school trustees need to undergo criminal background checks to comply with the new law (P.L. 2011, c.72). As of Nov. 17, roughly 1,600 board members and charter school trustees still had not complied, according to the NJDOE’s Criminal History Review Unit, the state office that coordinates criminal background checks for school employees and board members.

Last month, the Criminal History Review Unit said it would start sending letters of disqualification to remove board members who had not complied with the law, but the most recent announcement sets a specific deadline.

To schedule an appointment, take the following steps: 

  1. Obtain from your school business office or school district human resources office the “MorphoTrak Universal Form, Version 4.0,” which contains information you will need during the online registration process. 
  1. Then, go to the NJDOE Criminal History Review webpage at www.state.nj.us/education/educators/crimhist/.  (Do not attempt to complete registration online unless you have obtained the MorphoTrak Universal Form, Version 4.0 from your school district.)
    • Select the “ePayment Criminal History Record Check”
    • Choose the first link, “New Administrative Fee Request”
    • Select the first option, “All Job Positions, except School Bus Drivers and Bus Aides, for Public Schools, Private Schools for Children with Disabilities and Charter Schools.”  (This selection will bring you to the electronic registration form.) 
  1. Complete the online registration form.
    • Note: On the registration form, choose the “Board Member/Trustee” option in the drop-down menu that will appear when you click the arrow next to “Job Category.” 
  1. After completing the registration form, submit the $10.00 registration fee (plus $1.00 convenience fee) via credit card to Official Payments Corp. 
  1. Finally, schedule your fingerprinting appointment by following the link to MorphoTrak. The MorphoTrak fee is $70.25 and must also be paid by credit card. (NJDOE will not consider a board member to be in compliance with the requirement unless he or she has scheduled an appointment for digital fingerprinting.) 

School board members encountering difficulty with the process should call the NJDOE Criminal History Review Unit at (609) 292-0507.

If you previously submitted to a criminal background check…
School board members who underwent criminal background checks for employment in another New Jersey school district after Feb. 21, 2003 will have their fingerprints on file.  However, they must complete an abbreviated online application process: 

  1. Obtain from your school business office or school districts human resources office the “MorphoTrak Universal Form, Version 4.0,” which contains information you will need during the online registration process. 
  1. Then, go to the NJDOE Criminal History Review webpage.  (Do not attempt to complete online unless you have obtained the MorphoTrak Universal Form, Version 4.0 from your school district.)
    • Select the “ePayment Criminal History Record Check”
    • Choose the second link, “Archive Application Request (Applicants Previously Fingerprinted for the Department of Education and Approved Subsequent to February 2003),” and provide the information requested. 

Contact the NJDOE Criminal History Review Unit at (609) 292-0507 for additional information.

 

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