OXFORD – Assistant Superintendent Richard Colpitts told SAD 17 directors Monday night that he has conducted 313 criminal background checks on school personnel.

“The process is in place and it’s working so far. I’ve been happy with it,” said Colpitts, who has been conducting the so-called CORI checks on school personnel since the policy was put into place by directors last summer.

According to Colpitts, the checks included reports on 259 volunteers and 54 substitutes and new staff members. One check was on a volunteer who was hired after unspecified additional information was provided.

Because of confidentiality laws, no specific information on individuals can be made public.

The largest number of CORI checks – 87 – was done at the Paris Elementary School. A total of 60 checks were made at both the Harrison and Waterford Elementary schools. Other checks included 16 at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris, 10 at the Oxford Hills Middle School in Paris and 37 at the Rowe Elementary School in Norway.

The criminal background checks will continue with all new hires, including those at the bus garage and programs affiliated with the district.

In other matters, directors praised the work of Facilities Director Dave Marshall and Lance Belanger of the physical education department for their efforts to garner money for the district.

More than $1 million from the state revolving loan fund will be used for upgrades for handicapped accessibility and meeting fire codes.

Belanger is applying for a grant for equipment such as mountain bikes and Nordic skis. He said the money will be used to partner with area organizations such as Healthy Oxford Hills to offer students programs. The grant is federal money offered through the Department of Education to improve physical education programs, including after-school programs for students in grades kindergarten through 12, and to help students make progress toward meeting state standards for physical education.

The board agreed to support the grant application, which is expected to be completed and mailed to the Department of Education by March 24.

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