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Iowa Lawmakers Weigh Background Checks For All Iowa School Employees

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Background checks have become a standard part of most job interviews today.

Yet, the State of Iowa does not require all of its public school employees to submit to one.

Teachers and bus drivers must clear a background check, but that's where Iowa law stops.

Lawmakers are attempting to close that gap, but parents picking up their kids had a hard time believing it.

They assumed it was a given.

Many school districts, including Davenport, already background check all of their employees.

Even their volunteers go through a background check process.

Now, Iowa lawmakers want to make sure all school districts do the same.

Right now, teachers and bus drivers go through checks, but that leaves the past behavior of cooks, janitors, and aides un-scrutinized.

The law will require each individual district to run a job applicant's name past the state's sex offender, child abuse, and dependent adult abuse registries.

The districts would also re-run the checks on each employee every five years.

Illinois has had a similar measure on its books for the past several years.

Parents say this is a common sense piece of law.

"We background check our employees and that type of thing for a reason, so it's definitely overdue if they weren't doing it before," says parent Jennifer Simpson.

"I always expected that it was already done, I'm kind of shocked it never was," says parent Gary Dumerauf.

The state legislature's research arm looked into the cost of such a proposal, which would be a mandate from the state.

It finds all the districts can access public databases right now.

The cost of accessing another private database is estimated to be two dollars.

Overall, the state expects school districts to have to pay an additional 55 dollars for these background checks each year.

The bill passed the Iowa House Tuesday, with an addition to have ice cream truck drivers also pass a background check.

The State Senate will now review the bill.

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