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Fingerprinting Backlog Costing School Districts

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is reporting a backlog of thousands of fingerprinting applications from teachers statewide.  The delay could be a problem as districts gear up for the start of the school year.

DPS is reporting a backlog of at least 12,000 fingerprinting applications.  Fingerprint clearance is a crucial step in teacher background and criminal history checks. 

Last week alone, DPS received nearly seven thousand new applications. 

Officials generally process about 5,000 fingerprint cards per week. 

DPS staff is now working 24 hours a day to try and get through the backlog in time for the start of the school year.

In the case that some teachers won't have clearance in time for the start of classes, many districts statewide are lining up substitute teachers whose background checks have already been processed. 

It will cost schools an average of $85 a day per substitute to fill iin for regular classroom teachers waiting for fingerprint clearance.