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Records Retention

Records retention management is the systematic control and the capturing, classifying and ongoing management of records for their entire life cycle. It is knowing what to keep, how long to keep it, and when you can get rid of it lawfully. The Yakima School District Records Retention Specialist assists all schools and departments with the disposition of any papers, correspondence, forms, bound volumes, films, magnetic record, drawings, or other documents (regardless of media) that have been created or received during the course of public business.

What records need to be kept by the district?

A retention schedule is a guide for records that need to be retained for operational, fiscal, legal or historical reasons. It serves as an “instruction sheet” for the rules of care and preservation of public records.

Examples of records that need to be retained include:  student records, board minutes, curriculum, executive-level minutes, HR documents, Financial Records, photos, correspondence, grading records, professional leave

"Born Digital" electronic records must be retained in electronic format for the length of the designated retention period. Printing and retaining a hard copy is not a substitute for the electronic version.  (WAC 434-662-040)

Regardless of how a record was created:

  • If the transaction of public business occurs in paper then the paper record needs to be retained.
  • If the transaction of public business occurs electronically then the electronic record needs to be retained.

Washington State General Records Retention Schedule

Yakima School District will retain records in compliance with the General Records Retention Schedule For School Districts And Educational Service Districts in Washington State found at:

All district records are public records and may not be destroyed, nor even transferred to the Records Management Office or the school district records warehouse without an official retention period. The Yakima School District Records Management Office will assist every school and district program with a retention schedule and the necessary forms to transfer district records to the proper location.

The Washington State General Records Retention Schedule describes the type of records approved for destruction, a minimum period for which they need to be retained; and identifies those records with archival value. As per RCW 40.14.070, no public record will be destroyed until approved for destruction by the Local Records Committee (State Auditor, Attorney General, State Archivist). Approval for destruction is granted by the Local Records Committee in the form of general records retention schedules.

Cut-Off: Whenever applicable, the retention period starts with the "cut-off." "Cut-off" is a term used to indicate files or records may be terminated on a predetermined date. “Cut-off” prevents current records from attaining unmanageable size and facilitates the filing of new records. Calendar year records may be "cut-off" on December 31, and a new file established on January 1; all fiscal year records can be "cut-off" only upon the completion of an action or event, such as termination of a contract, final payment of a contract, or termination of employment. Regardless of the duration of the retention period, records series should be kept in the office files after "cut-off" only as long as is necessary to satisfy: (1) active reference; (2) audit, when required; and (3) other operational requirements. Once these three factors have been satisfied, the records should be transferred to a records center or to an appropriate alternative format, including electronically for the remainder of the retention period.

When can district records be destroyed?

The content of a record drives retention periods and archival requirements.

After a school, program or department has submitted a Records Destruction Notice (form available online) to the Yakima School District Records Management

Department, the notice will be reviewed and approved by the Records Retention Specialist. At that time, instructions will be provided on how to proceed.

The school, program or department may also contact the Records Retention Specialist at 425-456-4150 to begin the process. RCW 40.14.060; RCW 40.14.070