On Monday, we asked our readers, “Should school boards be required to keep electronic correspondence for a certain amount of time? If so, how long and why?”
The question was prompted by a recent discussion between the Jeffco Public Schools board and its lawyer, Brad Miller. Miller said the district needed to adopted a policy that outlines how it retains electronic files, including emails. But that policy could say emails do not need to be kept.
Reader Kelly Johnson pointed out that if emails are deleted, they’re no good to the public.
If the emails — using either personal or district email addresses — talk about Board business, they’re a public record. And what good is a public record if it isn’t actually archived?
Reader Jim Earley left this comment:
Any public entity should be required to have retention policies for all correspondence, digital or otherwise. For email, I would urge a minimum two year retention policy.
But Tina Gurdikian, in a comment, said emails should be maintained for the public official’s career.
Any emails directly pertaining to board/district business and decisions/decision-making should be retained for the duration that an elected board official is in office.
That’s not long enough for Twitter user Gail Kramer
@ChalkbeatCO School board members should keep school board related emails for 7 yrs like US citizens keep tax returns.
— Gail Kramer (@Kramerreads) February 4, 2015
But Paula Reed said a shorter length of time would be fine with her.
Thirty days is a reasonable length of time. Should a situation occur that requires public oversight, that allows time to ascertain just what is needed and file a CORA (Colorado Open Records Act request). When a school board candidate runs on transparency during his or her campaign, he or she should be in favor of such a reasonable policy.