Skip to main content

RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS

RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS

Authorities:  2 CFR Part 200; 34 CFR Parts 75 and 300; Texas Government Code; Texas Local Government Code; 19 TAC Chapter 101; Texas State Library and Archives Commission Local Schedule SD
 
 
 
  FEDERAL AND STATE REQUIREMENTS
 
RECORDS RETENTION SCHEDULES
The director and librarian, under the direction of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, prepares and distributes the records retention schedules for each type of local government, including a schedule for records common to all types of local government.
Each records retention schedule must:
  • List the various types of records of the applicable local government;
  • State the retention period prescribed by a federal or state law, rule of court, or regulation for records for which a period is prescribed; and
  • Prescribe retention periods for all other records.
Prescribed retention periods have the same effect as if prescribed by law after the records retention schedule is adopted as a rule of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
 
DEFINITIONS
Director and librarian means the executive and administrative officer of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission respectively.
Local government means a county, including all district and precinct offices of a county, municipality, public school district, appraisal district, or any other special-purpose district or authority.
Local government record means any document, paper, letter, book, map, photograph, sound or video recording, microfilm, magnetic tape, electronic medium, or other information recording medium, regardless of physical form or characteristic and regardless of whether public access to it is open or restricted under the laws of the state, created or received by a local government or any of its officers or employees pursuant to law, including an ordinance, or in the transaction of public business.
A local government record does not include:
  • Extra identical copies of documents created only for convenience of reference or research by officers or employees of the local government;
  • Notes, journals, diaries, and similar documents created by an officer or employee of the local government for the officer's or employee's personal convenience;
  • Blank forms;
  • Stocks of publications;
  • Library and museum materials acquired solely for the purposes of reference or display;
  • Copies of documents in any media furnished to members of the public to which they are entitled under the Public Information Act (PIA), or other state law; or
  • Any records, correspondence, notes, memoranda, or documents, other than a final written agreement associated with a matter conducted under an alternative dispute resolution procedure in which personnel of a state department or institution, local government, special district, or other political subdivision of the state participated as a party, facilitated as an impartial third party, or facilitated as the administrator of a dispute resolution system or organization.
Records retention schedule means a document issued by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under authority of the subchapter on the Preservation and Management of Local Government Records in the Texas Government Code, establishing mandatory retention periods for local government records.
Retention period means the minimum time that must pass after the creation, recording, or receipt of a record, or the fulfillment of certain actions associated with a record, before it is eligible for destruction.
 
USE OF LOCAL SCHEDULE SD
Local Schedule SD sets mandatory minimum retention periods for records commonly found in local educational agencies (LEAs), and is for the use of:
  • LEAs of all types;
  • Regional educational service centers;
  • Educational cooperatives for special education or other purposes;
  • Rehabilitation districts;
  • County industrial training school districts;
  • County vocational districts; and
  • Active offices of county superintendents of schools and county departments of education.
 
LEAS GOVERNED BY STATE AGENCIES OR STATE BOARDS
The State and Local Records Management Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission determines the extent to which the following LEAs governed by state boards use Local Schedule SD:
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
  • Texas School for the Deaf;
  • University of North Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science; and
  • Any schools governed by state agencies such as the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, etc.
 
LOCAL SCHEDULE SD ABBREVIATIONS
Abbreviations used in Local Schedule SD include:
  • AV - As long as administratively valuable;
  • CE - Calendar year end;
  • CFR - Code of Federal Regulations;
  • FE - Fiscal year end;
  • TAC - Texas Administrative Code;
  • US - Until superseded; and
  • LA - Life of asset.
 
RETENTION PERIOD
Unless otherwise stated, the retention period for a record:
  • Is in calendar years from the date of the record's creation; and
  • Applies only to an official record and not to convenience or working copies created for informational purposes.
Certain records are assigned the retention period of AV, and this retention period affords local governments the maximum amount of discretion in determining a specific retention period for a record.
 
MULTIPLE COPIES AND THE OFFICIAL RECORD
Where several copies are maintained, each local government should decide:
  • Which copy will be the official record; and
  • In which of its divisions or departments it will be maintained.
Local government records management programs should establish policies and procedures to provide for the systematic disposal of copies.
 
MULTIPLE RECORDS MAINTAINED TOGETHER
For a record maintained in a bound volume with pages not designed for removal, the retention period dates from the date of last entry, unless otherwise stated.
If two or more records are maintained together and are not severable, the combined record must be retained for the length of time of the component with the longest retention period.
 
ELECTRONICALLY STORED DATA
The retention period for a record applies to the record regardless of the medium in which it is maintained.
Electronically stored data that is used to create in any manner a record or the functional equivalent of a record, as described in Local Schedule SD, must be retained, along with the hardware and software necessary to access the data, for the retention period assigned to the record, unless the backup copies of the data generated from electronic storage are retained in paper or on microfilm for the retention period.
 
CONFLICTS WITH OTHER LOCAL SCHEDULES
In any instances of conflict between retention periods among Local Schedule SD, Local Schedule GR, or Local Schedule TX, the retention periods in Local Schedule SD take priority.
 
GRANT RECORDS
LEAs maintain many records includable among the general administrative, financial, and personnel record series in Local Schedule GR, especially those relating to grant allocations, funding, and reporting.
A grantee who is an LEA will keep records that fully show:
  • The amount of funds under the grant;
  • How the grantee uses the funds;
  • The total cost of the project;
  • The share of that cost provided from other sources; 
  • Other records to facilitate an effective audit;
  • Records to show its compliance with program requirements; and 
  • Records of significant project experiences and results.
 
RETENTION OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL AND PROGRAM RECORDS
Federal regulations require that all records of the types mentioned must be available for audit for three years after the date of submission of the single or last expenditure report by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as subgrantor, not by the school district. Because final expenditure reports are submitted by the TEA after all reports from districts are received, a 5-year retention period for many records of school districts is necessary to satisfy this requirement adequately.
The following circumstances will extend the 5-year retention period:
  • If any litigation, claim, or audit is started before the expiration of the 5–year retention period, the records must be retained until all litigation, claims, or audit findings involving the records have been resolved and final action taken;
  • When the LEA is notified in writing by the federal awarding agency, cognizant agency for audit, oversight agency for audit, cognizant agency for indirect costs, or pass-through entity to extend the retention period;
  • Records for real property and equipment acquired with federal funds must be retained for three years after final disposition;
  • When records are transferred to or maintained by the federal awarding agency or pass-through entity, the 3–year retention requirement is not applicable to the LEA;
  • Records for program income transactions after the period of performance. In some cases recipients must report program income after the period of performance. Where there is such a requirement, the retention period for the records pertaining to the earning of the program income starts from the end of the LEA's fiscal year in which the program income is earned; and
  • Indirect cost rate proposals and cost allocations plans including indirect cost rate computations or proposals, cost allocation plans, and any similar accounting computations of the rate at which a particular group of costs is chargeable (such as computer usage chargeback rates or composite fringe benefit rates):
    • If the proposal, plan, or other computation is required to be submitted to the federal government (or to the pass-through entity) to form the basis for negotiation of the rate, then the retention period for its supporting records starts from the date of such submission; or
    • If the proposal, plan, or other computation is not required to be submitted to the federal government (or to the pass-through entity) for negotiation purposes, then the retention period for the proposal, plan, or computation and its supporting records starts from the end of the fiscal year (or other accounting period) covered by the proposal, plan, or other computation.
Copies of reports or records submitted to the TEA must be retained by school districts in accordance with Local Schedule SD.
 
LOCAL SCHEDULE SD
The LEA must comply with the applicable parts and sections of Local Schedule SD when determining retention rate of records, such as:
  • Academic records;
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) records;
  • Records of special populations and services including:
    • Special education program records;
    • Bilingual and special language program records;
    • Gifted/Talented program records;
    • Section 504 program records;
    • Dyslexia program records;
    • Migrant Student Record Transfer System records; or
    • Other special populations records;
  • Attendance records;
  • Health records; 
  • Instruction and grade reporting records;
  • Discipline and counseling records;
  • Adult and vocational education records;
  • Drivers education records;
  • Accreditation records;
  • Food service records;
  • Textbook records;
  • Transportation records;
  • School safety records;
  • Financial records;
  • Personnel and staffing records including: 
    • Individual employee records; and
    • Staffing records;
  • Miscellaneous reports and surveys;
  • Miscellaneous records; and
  • Library records.
 
RETENTION OF TEST ADMINISTRATION DOCUMENTATION
As part of test administration procedures, the LEA must maintain records related to the security of assessment instruments for five years.
 
REQUIREMENT TO RETAIN
A local government record must not be destroyed if:
  • The subject matter of the record is known by the custodian to be in litigation;
  • There is a pending request for disclosure under the PIA;
  • There is an outstanding request to inspect and review the record under FERPA;
  • The record is subject to a pending audit by a federal or state grantor or subgrantor agency or, if questions remain unresolved from a conducted audit until audit finds are resolved; or
  • There is a pending claim, administrative review, or other action involving the record.
 
DESTRUCTION
Destruction means physical destruction or removal of personal identifiers from information so that the information is no longer personally identifiable.
A local government record may be destroyed if:
  • The record is listed on a valid records control schedule and its retention period has expired or it has been microfilmed or stored electronically;
  • The record appears on a list of obsolete records approved by the director and librarian;
  • The record is not listed on a records retention schedule issued by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the local government provides notice to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at least 10 days before destroying the record;
  • An expunction order issued by a court pursuant to state law directs the destruction of the record; or
  • The record is defined or listed as exempt from scheduling or filing requirements by Texas State Library and Archives Commission rules.
Subject to any policies developed in each local government or elective county office regarding destruction, the custodian or the creator of the document may exercise discretion in disposing of material that is not included in the definition of a local government record and that is not described as:
  • Extra identical copies of documents created only for convenience of reference or research by officers or employees of the local government;
  • Notes, journals, diaries, and similar documents created by an officer or employee of the local government for the officer's or employee's personal convenience; and
  • Blank forms.
 
METHOD OF DESTRUCTION
Local government records, including extra identical copies, to which public access is restricted under the PIA, or other state law, may be destroyed only by:
  • Burning;
  • Pulping; or
  • Shredding.
A local government record, to which access is not restricted under the PIA, or other state law may be destroyed only by:
  • Burning;
  • Pulping;
  • Shredding;
  • Burial in a landfill; or
  • Sale or donation for recycling purposes.
A local government that sells or donates records for recycling purposes must establish procedures for ensuring that the records are rendered unrecognizable as local government records by the recycler.
Local governments in their records management programs should establish policies and procedures to provide for the systematic disposal of copies.
The director and librarian may approve other methods of destruction that render the records unrecognizable as local government records.
 
DAMAGED RECORDS
A record whose minimum retention period has not yet expired and is less than permanent may be disposed of if:
  • It has been so badly damaged by fire, water, or insect or rodent infestation as to render it unreadable; or
  • Portions of the information in the record have been so thoroughly destroyed that remaining portions are unintelligible.
If the retention period for the record is permanent, authority to dispose of the damaged record must be obtained from the director and librarian, and the Request for Authority to Destroy Unscheduled Records (Form SLR 501) should be used for this purpose.
 
ALIENATION OF RECORDS
A records management officer or custodian may temporarily transfer a local government record to a person for the purposes of:
  • Microfilming;
  • Duplication;
  • Conversion to electronic media;
  • Restoration; or
  • Similar records management and preservation procedures.
 
LIABILITY AND PENALTY
A custodian of local government records, records management officer, or other officer or employee of a local government may not be held personally liable for the destruction of a local government record if the destruction is in compliance with the Local Government Code and rules adopted under it.
An officer or employee of a local government commits a Class A misdemeanor if the officer or employee knowingly or intentionally violates the Local Government Code or rules adopted under it by:
  • Destroying or alienating a local government record in violation of the Local Government Code; or
  • Intentionally failing to deliver records to a successor in office.
  Last Updated : Thu, Jan 16, 2020