Senate passes Barickman legislation to help schools cut costs

The state of Illinois could soon update regulations that could potentially save schools money, now that the Senate has approved legislation sponsored by State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).

“This legislation provides a common sense solution to an issue that many school districts face,” said Sen. Barickman. “This updates the rules to decrease the burden on our schools while helping districts to comply with the intent of the rules.”

Senate Bill 117 updates rules on keeping older school records and the process for destroying old records.

Under current law, many records are required to be kept by schools for certain periods of time, often a period of 60 years. After that, they cannot be disposed of or moved to electronic copies unless the district is able to parent the parent and offer them a chance to copy the information in the record. Currently the standard is to require communication by US mail to the last known address of the parent, or to publish a notice in a newspaper.

Barickman’s legislation would allow the school district to send notice via email with receipt confirmation, and would also allow the communications to go to the student, if they are of age or the parental rights have been transferred to the student.

“The current law often means districts are stuck with the costs and other issues of keeping records beyond the time they are required to,” said Barickman. “Updating the rules will help the school districts save money and have a better chance of reaching the people they are required to notify.”

The idea for the legislation came from a school in Barickman’s district.

“This legislation will make it easier for school districts to provide timely notice to parents and students prior to the destruction of school student records, and will relieve the burden on school districts of storing a significant amount of documents beyond the statutorily required timeframe,” said Kurt Richardson, Attorney for McLean Unit District 5. “Unit 5 thanks Senator Barickman for his efforts in passing this helpful legislation.”

The legislation passed the Senate on March 27 and is now headed to the Illinois House for consideration in that chamber.

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