Governor signs Barickman’s bill to update school records rules

Illinois schools now have more options for long-term student records that could save taxpayer funds, due to legislation sponsored by State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and signed into law on July 27.

“This is a common-sense answer to a problem that many schools face, that could potentially save the districts money,” said Sen. Barickman. “This will actually make it easier for schools to comply with record-keeping rules by updating the process and requirements.”

Senate Bill 117 provides an updated set of rules for how schools handle, store, and potentially destroy long-term student records.

Under the old law, many records are required to be kept by schools for certain periods of time, often a period of 60 years. After that, they could’ve been disposed of or moved to electronic copies unless the district was able to contact the parent and offer them a chance to copy the information in the record. The previous standard was communication by US mail to the last known address of the parent, or to publish a notice in a newspaper.

Barickman’s legislation allows school districts to send notice via email with receipt confirmation, and also allows the communications to go to the student, if they are of age (or if the parental rights have been transferred to the student in the case of a student under 18).

“The old rules meant that school districts were stuck spending unnecessary funds on postage and long-term storage of records,” said Barickman. “The new law will help schools devote less time and money to this process, allowing them to devote those resources where they belong, in the classroom.”

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 Curt Richardson, Attorney for McLean Unit District 5. “Unit 5 thanks Senator Barickman for his efforts in passing this helpful legislation.”

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