The Eastern York school board voted earlier this month to temporarily suspend a policy on background checks for volunteers.

Superintendent Darla Pianowski made it clear the administration still will require clearances for anyone working in schools or coming into contact with students.

But the move could address concerns of school organizations, whose leaders feared new requirements passed in May could scare away volunteers.

Among those new requirements: tuberculosis testing for all volunteers.

Board member Douglas Caldwell made the motion to temporarily suspend the policy.

"While I feel it's a very, very important policy to have in place to have background checks, there's some elements of that policy I feel are counterproductive and it was unintentional," he said. "I certainly missed it."

He called the TB testing "expensive and inconvenient" and said the policy is making it more difficult to find volunteers.

"It's not really bringing the community together enabling people to volunteer easier," Caldwell added.

Input: That's precisely what the school board heard during the public comment portion of the meeting. Diana Buckwalter, president of the athletic booster club, said she would not have any volunteers if the policy stayed in place.

The club reimburses any volunteer coaches in the district for criminal checks, but does not provide reimbursement for the tuberculosis testing.

"My husband went to our family doctor and $114 later is what he was charged for a PPD test, which is the TB test," said Buckwalter.


Christine Miller, secretary of the nonprofit organization Dollars for Scholars, was not sure how her organization fit into new rules, since they use school facilities for fundraisers, but are not technically volunteers. She wondered why the organization hadn't receive information about the revised policy.

And Robyn Strickler, speaking on behalf of the performing arts booster club, worried what the rules would do to the number of volunteers who help with the marching band, since the program is fragile already because of its small size.

The vote to suspend the policy will give the board time to review it, then tweak it if they decide that's necessary.

Board member Wanda Miller suggested that maybe exemptions be put into place.

"Do we really need to go through all that effort for someone to hand out programs or to serve in a concession stand?" Caldwell wondered. "Certainly somebody who's in a classroom, going on a field trip, directly involved with students, this makes absolute perfect sense and needs to be there."