RD432 - Report on the Implementation of the Virginia Public Records Act in Public Schools

Executive Summary:

The VPRA (§§ 42.1-76 through 42.1-91) gives the LVA the authority to "administer a records management program for the application of efficient and economical methods for managing the lifecycle of public… establish procedures and techniques for the effective management of public records, make continuing surveys of records and records keeping practices, and recommend improvements in current records management practices…" Public records are defined as “recorded information that documents a transaction or activity by or with any public officer, agency or employee of an agency. Regardless of physical form or characteristic, the recorded information is a public record if it is produced, collected, received or retained in pursuance of law or in connection with the transaction of public business. The medium upon which such information is recorded has no bearing on the determination of whether the recording is a public record." With this authority and in accordance with the aforementioned act, the LVA developed a survey in order to understand the current state of records management in public school divisions across the state. With the help of the PSRC, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Association of School Boards, the survey was distributed to superintendents, school boards, and Records Officers and data was collected over a two-month period.

The findings of the survey highlight the challenges that both school divisions and the LVA face in efficiently implementing the VPRA. Both entities have room for improvement in regards to outreach, education, and support in order to better their records management programs and provide Records Officers the tools they need; additional resources would facilitate this improvement.