I recently listened to a webinar conducted by the Ohio Historical Society (OHS) that was designed to review best practices for managing and retaining public records in Ohio. The host of the webinar mentioned a change that HB 153 made to record retention practices. It has the potential to lessen the burden on school districts with regard to the disposal of records, so it's worth repeating.

As you know, school districts are required to adopt RC-2 schedules. These schedules list the type of documents a district plans to retain and the length of time it will retain them. The schedules are created and approved by your district's records commission and are approved by OHS and the auditor of state. Prior to HB 153, when the retention period on the RC-2 schedule had expired for a series of records, the district was required to notify OHS by filing a certificate of records disposal (RC-3 form) before destroying any records. The RC-3 form was required for each record or series of records that the district wanted to destroy.

HB 153 created section 149.381 of the Revised Code. Under the new law, once OHS receives a copy of a district's RC-2 schedule for approval, OHS will review it and identify which records on the RC-2 form they would like to see an RC-3 for prior to disposal. This provides OHS with the opportunity to select for its custody those records that it considers to be of continuing historical value. They have updated the form to include column 6 for this purpose.

As a result, a school district needs to file a RC-3 form with OHS only for those records that OHS has requested to see. It is no longer required for each record or series of records that the district seeks to destroy. This has the potential to reduce significantly the number of RC-3 forms that the district files with OHS. After OHS reviews your RC-2 schedule, it will sign the form and forward to the auditor of state's office for their review and approval. The approving agent at the auditor of state's office will sign the form and return it to OHS, who will then return a copy of the approved form to the district's records commission.

Please note that this applies only to RC-2 schedules that OHS has approved on or after September 29, 2011, the effective date of HB 153. If your district is interested in taking advantage of these new provisions, you will need to resubmit your RC-2 schedule to OHS for re-approval. OHS will have 60-days to review your schedule and identify which records it would like to see prior to disposal. Districts who have RC-2 forms that were approved prior to September 29, 2011 still will be required to send in a RC-3 form for each record or series of records prior to disposal.

Copies of the new record retention forms are available online at: http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/portal/lgr-p.shtml under the "LGR Forms" link. If you have questions about records retention or the HB 153 changes, please contact the OSBA legal division at (800) 589-OSBA.

Posted by Sara Clark on 5/25/2012