Californians Aware, a statewide group that advocates for government transparency, Friday expressed concern over a soon-to-take- effect San Diego Unified School District policy to delete most emails after one year.
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Former San Diego City Councilwoman and longtime CalAware board member Donna Frye fears the policy could lead to the deletion of important public records. She also said the policy may violate state law.
“The state law governing retention of school district disposable records, in effect, requires at least a three-year preservation period,” Frye said.
However, district spokeswoman Jennifer Rodriguez said the new policy, which goes into effect June 1, is in line with that of similar public agencies. The district hasn’t commented on concerns over the policy.
The district’s Board of Education approved the new policy last year, citing cost savings on storage costs.
Under the new policy. faculty will be able to manually archive emails that have value as public records. Rodriguez said employees have, since the policy was approved, been trained on what constitutes a public record based on pre-existing definitions.
A policy from the district’s website categorizes a wide variety of documents as public records, including meeting minutes, district budgets, general reports, statistical compilations, official communications between district and other agency employees, school program plans, claims filed against the district as well as employee contracts and settlement agreements.
The San Diego Society of Professional Journalists said it hasn’t seen evidence that staff has been adequately trained on which emails should be archived.
Attorney Cory Briggs intends to sue the district for adopting the new policy, according to the local SPJ chapter.
–City News Service
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