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State Archives of N.C. Creates New Records Retention Requirements for LEAs

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager

Unbeknownst to most local education agencies (LEAs), the State Archives of North Carolina issued a new General Records Schedule for Local Government Agencies on March 1, 2019, creating new legal requirements for the retention and disposal of governmental records. The provisions in the new General Records Schedule supersedes the majority of regulations in the 1999 LEA retention schedule, except those under Standard 7, which covers Program Operational Records. While State Archives has not provided formal notice to school districts of the changes in the records retention schedule, LEA employees are expected to comply with all applicable regulations in the 106-page document. Further, until the local agency formally approves of the new General Records Schedule, employees are expected not to dispose of any public records, and violators could be found guilty of a Class 3 Misdemeanor, according to statute.

According to a post on the State Archives blog, the new General Records Schedule was created to produce uniform retention policies for records that are commonly created by all local government agencies, such as legal and personnel records. In the past, most local government agencies, including LEAs, had specific schedules for the retention and disposal of their records. The new general records policy will allow State Archives “to keep local records retention periods consistent with State records retention periods where applicable.” The General Records Schedule will also be updated annually, while program-specific records will be updated on a rotating cycle. The State Archives blog notes that regulations for LEA-specific records are scheduled to be updated in 2020, meaning school employees can expect further records retention changes in the months ahead.

The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) is currently working with the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) to pursue options with State Archives to provide school districts with needed flexibility as these retention schedules are enacted. We also plan on featuring information on the new records retention schedule during our upcoming School Law & Policy Symposium. In the meantime, we ask that concerned members direct all legal compliance questions to their local school board attorneys. Additional resources for the new records requirements can be accessed below:

Elizabeth Yelverton