On Tuesday evening, the San Diego Unified School Board unanimously adopted a policy to delete all emails from district servers after one year despite a recommendation from the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to retain them for two years as other large California school districts do. San Diego SPJ spoke at the meeting, raising concern with this and the fact that district employees will be charged with deciding which emails are public records.
Trustees voted on the new policy after only about five minutes of discussion. There was not a formal presentation on the proposal.
A number of things remain unclear about the new policy:
- When will it take effect?
- Which emails are considered public records?
- Will employees receive training on the California Public Records Act?
- What will happen to emails that are scheduled for deletion before outstanding requests can be fulfilled?
Some journalists have told San Diego SPJ that they’ve had to wait months for email records. Some are concerned that the district could run out the clock on requests, deleting relevant emails before they can be released.
San Diego SPJ is committed to trying to get answers to outstanding questions and concerns about this policy change.