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Frequently Asked Questions

No. A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) requires all persons engaged in instructional work directly as a classroom, laboratory or other teacher or indirectly as a supervisory teacher, speech therapist or principal to have a valid fingerprint clearance card. The law does not provide an exception during an appeal.

A.R.S. §28-3228 requires any person that operates a school bus transporting school children to possess: a) the appropriate license class for the size of school bus being operated that is issued by the Department of Transportation; b) a bus endorsement issued by the Department of Transportation; and c) a school bus certificate issued by the Department of Public Safety. For more information on the requirements for school bus drivers, please visit the Department of Public Safety Student Transportation Unit’s website.

A.R.S. §28-101 defines a “school bus” as a motor vehicle that is designed for carrying more than ten passengers and that is either:

  • Owned by any public or governmental agency or other institution and operated for the transportation of children to or from home or school on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • Privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of children to or from home or school on a regularly scheduled basis.

Under A.R.S. §15-512(A), volunteers who are required or allowed to provide services directly to pupils without the supervision of a certificated employee are required to be fingerprint checked unless they are parents or guardians of a pupil who attends the school. The charter school may fingerprint check volunteers not otherwise required under A.R.S. §15-512 to be fingerprinted [A.R.S. §15-512(G)]. During the 2014 legislative session, A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) was amended to allow a charter school to require these individuals to obtain fingerprint clearance cards.

A.R.S. §15-512 does not limit the number of times a school may run a fingerprint check. The fingerprint check is a point-in-time check on a person’s criminal background. The fingerprint check documentation must be retained by the charter school. The roll cards submitted to the Department of Public Safety may be submitted up to two times before a new roll card is required.

A.R.S. §41-1758.08 authorizes the use of an expired fingerprint clearance card to satisfy the fingerprint requirements of A.R.S. §§15-183 and 15-512 with the appropriate affidavit signed by the holder of the expired fingerprint clearance card. Under A.R.S. §41-1758.08, in order to use the expired fingerprint clearance card to satisfy statutory fingerprinting requirements, the person must sign an affidavit stating:

  1. He or she submitted a completed application to the Fingerprinting Division of the Department of Public Safety for a new fingerprint clearance card within 90 days before the expiration date on his or her fingerprint clearance card; and
  2. He or she is not awaiting trial on and has not been convicted of a criminal offense that would make him or her ineligible for a fingerprint clearance card.

A.R.S. §41-1758.08 excludes from this process persons with fingerprint clearance cards that have been denied, suspended or revoked by the Department of Public Safety or persons who have requested a good cause exception hearing. For more information, please see the guidance issued by the Board.

If the individual does not meet the affidavit requirements, then he or she is not authorized to use an expired fingerprint clearance card to satisfy the fingerprinting requirements.

Yes. A.R.S. §15-534(G)  requires any person contracted to provide tutoring services by the State or by a charter school to obtain a fingerprint clearance card before they participate in field experience in which services will be provided directly to pupils.

Yes. A.R.S. §15-534(G) requires student teachers to obtain a fingerprint clearance card before they participate in field experience in which services will be provided directly to pupils.

No. Under A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5), guest speakers are not required to have a valid fingerprint clearance card as long as they are accompanied in the classroom by a person with a valid fingerprint clearance card.

No. Under A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5), instructional volunteers are not required to have a valid fingerprint clearance card as long as they are accompanied in the classroom by a person with a valid fingerprint clearance card.

These individuals complete and submit a non-identity verified fingerprint clearance card application unless their duties also involve responsibilities that would require them to obtain an identity verified fingerprint clearance card pursuant to A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5). On the regular (or non-identity verified prints) fingerprint clearance card application, select the box for "Arizona Charter School Board Member/Applicant".

These individuals complete and submit a non-identity verified fingerprint clearance card application unless their duties also involve responsibilities that would require them to obtain an identity verified fingerprint clearance card pursuant to A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5). On the regular (or non-identity verified prints) fingerprint clearance card application, select the box for "Arizona Charter School Board Member/Applicant".

A.R.S. §15-183(C)(8) states that a person who is employed by a charter school or who is an applicant for employment with a charter school, who is arrested for or charged with a nonappealable offense listed in A.R.S. §41-1758.03(B), and who does not immediately report the arrest or charge to the person’s supervisor or potential employer is guilty of unprofessional conduct and the person shall be immediately dismissed from employment with the charter school or immediately excluded from potential employment with the charter school.

Additionally, A.R.S. §15-183(C)(9) states that a person who is employed by a charter school and who is convicted of any nonappealable offense in A.R.S. §41-1758.03(B) or is convicted of any nonappealable offense that amounts to unprofessional conduct under A.R.S. §15-550 shall immediately do all of the following: 1) surrender any certificates issued by the Arizona Department of Education; 2) notify the person’s employer or potential employer of the conviction; 3) notify the Department of Public Safety of the conviction; and 4) surrender the person’s fingerprint clearance card.

Further, A.R.S. §15-203(A)(36)  requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules to prohibit a person from certification who violates the notification requirements, certification surrender requirements or fingerprint clearance card surrender requirements for at least 10 years after the date of the violation.

A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) requires teachers to have a valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card. Therefore, any teacher hired from out-of-state needs to apply for and obtain an Arizona card.

A.R.S. §15-512(H) requires contractors, subcontractors, vendors, or any of their employees who are contracted to provide services on a regular basis at an individual school to obtain a valid fingerprint clearance card.

Yes. During the 2014 legislative session, A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) was amended to allow a charter school to require all personnel to obtain fingerprint clearance cards regardless of their position with the school.

A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) establishes two distinct fingerprinting processes for charter school personnel – the fingerprint clearance card and the fingerprint check. A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) requires all persons engaged in instructional work directly as a classroom, laboratory or other teacher or indirectly as a supervisory teacher, speech therapist or principal to have a valid fingerprint clearance card. A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) also requires all other personnel to be fingerprint checked pursuant to A.R.S. §15-512 or the charter school may require those personnel to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. For more information, please see the referenced sections of law and guidance issued by the Department of Public Safety. Fingerprinting requirements for school bus drivers and volunteers and guest speakers are addressed in the "School Bus Drivers" section and "Volunteers & Guest Speakers" section, respectively.

The Department of Public Safety has developed an online resource where a person may determine the status of an individual's school bus driver certificate. You will need the person's MVD license number and date of birth. In addition, the current employer must be identified on the Arizona School Bus Driver Certificate card for the card to be valid. If the person changes employers, the new employer should notify the Department of Public Safety, Student Transportation Unit at (602) 223-2646. The unit will reissue a new card if the person is still in compliance with requirements. If your school contracts for transportation services, the contracted entity will be the employer identified on the card and not your school.

A school must have an ORI number issued by DPS in order to conduct fingerprint checks. The ORI number is a unique identifier that DPS uses to ensure the individual’s state and FBI results are provided to the correct entity. If your school does not already have an ORI number, the first step is to complete and submit an Application for Access. The application is available through the DPS website.

During the 2017 legislative session, the fingerprinting requirements for school bus driver certification were changed to require applicants to obtain an identity verified fingerprint clearance card and maintain a valid identity verified fingerprint clearance card for the duration of any school bus driver certification period. This statutory change took effect on August 9, 2017. For persons certified as a school bus driver prior to the effective date of the statutory change, Laws 2017, Ch. 196 requires them to obtain an identity verified fingerprint clearance card on or before December 31, 2018. Pursuant to Laws 2017, Ch. 196, a person certified as a school bus driver who holds a valid fingerprint clearance card prior to the effective date of the statutory change may use their current valid fingerprint clearance card to satisfy the new requirements until such fingerprint clearance card expires. For questions, please contact the Department of Public Safety, Student Transportation Unit at [email protected] or (602) 223-2646.

Yes, for individuals currently residing in Arizona. In March 2016, the Department of Public Safety began accepting electronic submissions of identity verified prints (IVP) and regular (or non-IVP) fingerprint clearance card applications through its Electronic Fingerprint Application System. To apply for or renew a fingerprint clearance card online, visit the Fieldprint website. For initial and renewal applications, you will need to open an account and complete the applicable online application. For an initial application, you will also be required to schedule an appointment to have your fingerprints electronically “live scanned” at one of the participating vendors located in Arizona. A “convenience fee” will be charged in addition to the fingerprint clearance card application fee. Individuals who reside outside of Arizona are not eligible to submit their applications online and must request the applicable paper application from the Department of Public Safety.

Yes. Through its website, the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting maintains the most recent case status for appeals. It does not provide case histories. To access the case status feature, select “Find Out Your Case Status” on the Fingerprinting Board’s website. You will need the person's application number to conduct the status check. Please remember that case-status information pertains to a particular case and may not indicate whether the person holds a valid fingerprint clearance card.

The Department of Public Safety has developed an online resource where a person may determine the status of an individual's fingerprint clearance card or fingerprint clearance card application. The website includes fingerprint clearance cards issued through the identity verified and non-identity verified processes. You will need the person's fingerprint clearance card number or application number.

No. A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) establishes two distinct fingerprinting processes for charter school personnel - the fingerprint clearance card and the fingerprint check. A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) requires all persons engaged in instructional work directly as a classroom, laboratory or other teacher or indirectly as a supervisory teacher, speech therapist or principal to have a valid fingerprint clearance card. All other personnel must be fingerprint checked pursuant to A.R.S. §15-512. During the 2014 legislative session, A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) was amended to allow a charter school to require its "other personnel" to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. The statutory change does not require a charter school to obtain fingerprint clearance cards for its "other personnel". Therefore, the charter school decides whether to fingerprint check its "other personnel" or to require fingerprint clearance cards.

Yes. Neither A.R.S. §15-183(C)(5) nor A.R.S. §15-512 provide for an exception for employees based upon which hours during the day the employee works. These individuals must be fingerprint checked pursuant to A.R.S. §15-512 or, based on changes made during the 2014 legislative session, the charter school may require these individuals to obtain a fingerprint clearance card.

The charter school determines the individual's suitability for employment after reviewing the results of the state and federal criminal records check received from the Department of Public Safety.

The application to renew a fingerprint clearance card may be submitted at any time up to six months before the card expires. An identity verified fingerprint clearance card application may be requested online.

The Arizona Board of Fingerprinting maintains a list of frequently asked questions on its website.

Charter schools are public schools and therefore must enroll all eligible students who submit timely applications. Students must be enrolled in an equitable manner, such as a lottery. Charter schools may develop waiting lists and an equitable system of enrolling students from a waiting list. To learn about admission to a specific charter school, you may want to consider:

  • viewing the school’s admissions policies and procedures
  • obtaining a description of how the school meets the needs of all students, including those with special needs
  • reviewing the marketing materials used to recruit students
  • reviewing the charter

As a parent, you are making a conscious choice to consider participating in the education marketplace. Most charter schools provide opportunities for parental involvement ranging from volunteering in the classroom to serving on a site council. To learn more about the potential role of parents in a specific charter school, consider:

  • looking at the school’s charter
  • attending parent meetings
  • observing classrooms with parent volunteers
  • talking with parents of students

An applicant seeking to establish a charter school must submit a written application to a proposed charter school sponsor or authorizer. In Arizona, charter school authorizers include the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, school districts, a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Board of Regents, the State Board of Education, and a community college district or group of community college districts with individual or combined enrollment of more than 15,000 full-time students.

Charter schools are funded by the state and receive money based on student enrollment. A specific charter school’s funding is as stable as the school’s enrollment. Charter schools may also solicit and receive contributions and grants. To determine the funding situation of a charter school consider:

  • asking about daily enrollment figures
  • viewing budgets included in the charter
  • reviewing an audited financial statement (if an external audit has occurred)
  • getting a description of donations
  • viewing the Superintendent’s annual report for the school on the ADE web site

The term of the initial charter contract is 15 years. The term of a renewal contract is 20 years. State law requires the charter school sponsor to review a charter at five-year intervals using a performance framework adopted by the sponsor. State law also allows the sponsor to revoke a charter at any time if the charter school breaches one or more provisions of its charter or if the charter holder fails to do any of the following:

  • Meet or make sufficient progress toward the academic performance expectations set forth in the performance framework.
  • Meet the operational performance expectations set forth in the performance framework or any improvement plans.
  • Comply with the charter law or any provision of law from which the charter school in not exempt.

Charter schools may ask a variety of things of parents. Some charter schools may ask parents to volunteer in the school, commit to at-home reading time, attend functions, etc. You may want to ask the charter school about ways to become involved with your child’s educational needs.

School decisions are made at the school level. Each charter school develops its own policies related to discipline, personnel, etc. To learn about the policies of a charter school, consider asking to see policies and procedures manuals that may include:

  • personnel and board operations
  • parent groups/committees
  • student discipline
  • student performance/grading
  • calendar (year round/standard)

Charter schools are independent public schools and most operational decisions are made on-site. If you have an issue/complaint with a charter school, try to resolve the issue/complaint at the school site or with the operator of the school. If this action does not result in a resolution, find out when the governing board of the school meets and bring your concern before the board for consideration.

It is generally helpful to view the charter during the complaint process to determine if the school is acting outside of the parameters of its charter. You may also decide during this process that this particular charter school is not the best fit for your child’s needs.

If this process does not result in resolution, put your concern in writing and submit it to the charter school's sponsor or authorizer.

Charter schools utilize unique and innovative ideas and methods to meet their educational goals. To learn if these methods are best suited to your child, consider:

  • What specific teaching techniques and strategies are used?
  • What materials does the school have to implement its educational goals?
  • What classroom materials do teachers have to implement educational goals?
  • How are the classrooms organized?
  • Is the average class size conducive to the teaching methods described?
  • What are the qualifications of the teaching staff?
  • What kind of professional development opportunities are available to teaching staff?
  • Does the school meet its prescribed goals?

Charter schools participate in the state’s nationally standardized norm-referenced achievement test and the AIMS test. Each charter school also completes an annual report card for the Department of Education. The annual report cards are available on the Arizona Department of Education’s web site. Charter schools also design a method to measure pupil progress toward student outcomes.

As a parent, you may want to explore whether these measurements meet your child’s current and future needs. For instance, if your child is considering attending a college/university that requires graded transcripts, you may want to investigate charter schools that provide graded transcripts.

Some other things to consider are:

  • What kinds of assessments are used?
  • Are the assessment tools consistent with the mission of the school?
  • Are the goals clear and can progress toward the goals be measured?
  • Does the teaching staff have experience using this type of assessment?
  • What do student report cards contain and what is their frequency?
  • How is student progress communicated to parents?

Charter schools are public, state-funded schools that serve as alternatives to traditional public schools. Charter schools were created through legislation in 1994. Charter schools contract with a charter school sponsor or authorizer to provide an education service. Charter schools cannot charge tuition.

Charter schools were created in 1994 to provide a learning environment that will improve pupil achievement and to provide additional academic choices for parents and students.

Every charter school has its own individual mission or vision but must meet Arizona State Standards. This vision should be present in every aspect of the school and those involved in the school should share this vision. As a parent of a charter school, you and your child should share this vision. To learn about the school’s mission, consider:

  • visiting with the school’s founders
  • attending a board meeting
  • reading the school’s charter
  • attending class (preferably the class in which your child would be)
  • attending a school assembly

Charter schools are organized and operated in a variety of ways. Each charter school has a governing board. Each charter school also has a sponsoring entity or authorizer. Each charter school must comply with in its charter contract as well as with all applicable state, federal and local laws, and regulations.

Some charter schools are organized as non-profit corporations or for-profit corporations and still others have different structures. To learn more about the structure of a charter school, consider:

  • asking to see bylaws and articles of incorporation
  • obtaining a description of board members and their respective backgrounds
  • reviewing the school’s charter
  • attending a board meeting

Each charter school subscribes to a certain teaching philosophy or a combination of philosophies. It is important that your child flourish in this specific educational setting. To learn more about the school’s teaching philosophy, consider:

  • viewing lesson plans for a complete school week
  • reading the curriculum portion of the charter
  • visiting with classroom teachers
  • reviewing the school’s marketing materials
  • observing a parent/teacher meeting
  • determining if the curriculum is consistent with the mission