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NLS board OKs background check policy for volunteers

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board on Monday approved the second reading of the district's policy on background checks for district volunteers for athletic or academic events.

The policy will be referred to the district's policy committee for creation of procedures to use to implement the policy, Superintendent Paul Carlson told the board. Because the policy is driven by a new state statute, the goal is to give the district options for the checks.

"This policy is reflective of state statute," Carlson said, adding that the wording does allow the district to do subsequent background checks on an employee or volunteer if necessary, or use further checks beyond the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension if appropriate. "We'll have the policy committee work out the details."

The committee may recommend that a person who volunteers for one day of service be treated differently than a person who serves as a traveling coach or as a chaperone on overnight trips with students. Wording in the policy would mean checks are not mandatory.

There are more than 400 volunteers in the district, Carlson said.

Those volunteers include people who help with everything from prom to painting the stripes on the football field, board chairman Robert Moller reflected. "There are a lot of volunteers who come through here," he said.

In other action, the board

- Approved the annual senior trip June 2 to Duluth. Students attending the trip will go to a waterpark, go whitewater rafting and attend a dinner excursion cruise.

- Heard a report from Carlson that the state education department is requiring districts to report each day the number of absences due to illness, as part of tracking of possible H1N1 flu cases. The state department of health is also advising district officials to review a list of screening questions with parents reporting children who are sick and out of class.

- Took a tour of the 2009 project house built by the agriculture structures class. The district is seeking sealed bids for the 1,632-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home.

The bids, a minimum of $74,500, will be opened on May 21 and the board will review the bids at the May 26 meeting.