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2005 Opinions

June 7, 2005
Matthew J. Carson
(850) 245-0442
205-0442
05-02
none
Date:
Prepared By:
Phone:
Suncom:
Opinion No.:
Staff Contact:

Memorandum Opinion

To:

From:

Subject:
Reginald C. James, Superintendent
The School Board of Gadsden County
Daniel J. Woodring, Esquire
General Counsel
Propriety of the Contract for Fingerprint Processing Services between the School Board and the Florida Department of Financial Services

Question Presented: What is the propriety of a School Board entering into a contract to perform fingerprint checks for the Florida Department of Financial Services?

Short Answer: It is consistent with law and policy to allow such contracts.

Discussion: District School Boards are required to conduct fingerprint-based background checks on all personnel who apply for positions that require direct contact with children. Section 1012.32, Florida Statutes. In addition, the Florida Department of Education is required to conduct fingerprint-based background checks on all educator certificate applicants. Section 1012.56, Florida Statutes. The purpose of these fingerprint-based background checks is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of children in the custody and care of teachers in the state school system.

Processing “paper-and-ink” fingerprint cards through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation often takes 12 weeks or more. As a result, the Florida Department of Education issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for qualified vendors to provide a Statewide Automated Fingerprint-Based Applicant Processing System (AFAPS). This system provides background check results in less than 72 hours, greatly reducing the risk to children of placing an individual of questionable moral character in a position of public trust.

Included in the RFP was a notice to potential proposers that the system would also be used for Florida Department of Financial Services insurance agent licensure purposes. Also included was a provision that included “a $5.00 fee to be paid to the school district or other entity processing the fingerprints.” [emphasis in original]

Since the system was designed to include use by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Financial Services, specifically included a $5.00 fee to be paid to the school district, and anticipated a third party processing the fingerprints, there is no real issue with a school board entering into a contract to perform fingerprint checks for the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Please do not hesitate to contact this office if you have any further questions.

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