TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams on Thursday issued a statement in response to questions about records retention.
On Wednesday, the Baltimore County Board of Education requested an internal investigation into the shredding and destruction of material during a 2018 BCPS financial audit.
The board also announced that it would be drafting a district-wide policy on record retention.
Here is the full statement issued by Dr. Williams on Thursday:
“There have been allegations in recent news reports concerning Baltimore County Public Schools’ records retention practices and certain activities. I wasn’t here in 2018; however, this is what I have found so far:
“It has been alleged that the school system violated the Board’s ban on records destruction. The facts don’t support this conclusion. The Board of Education instituted a ban on records destruction on September 25, 2018, and it applied to employees at the position of executive director and above. This ban did not apply to the documents that were shred in November and December of 2018.
“It has been alleged that the Office of Accounting destroyed thousands of pounds of material. The facts don’t support this conclusion.
“On November 2, 2018, the Office of Accounting sent seven boxes to Logistics for shredding. On November 12, 2018, 26,000 pounds of material was shred, as confirmed by our vendor. The seven boxes from the Office of Accounting did not total 26,000 pounds but clearly included other material. On December 7, 2018, three boxes were sent to Logistics for shredding. On December 12, 2018, these three boxes –and other material—were certified as having been shred. It is obvious that these three boxes did not weigh 26,300 pounds. There were 25 pallets of material that were shred, which included textbooks; these documents confirming the weight of material were provided as part of a Maryland Public Information Act request.
“It has been alleged that the documents that were disposed of in November and December prevented the board’s auditors from doing their work. The facts don’t support this conclusion. The Office of Accounting has confirmed that all documents that were sent to the Office of Logistics for disposition have been retained.
“Records retention schedules are designed to ensure the school system records are retained for as long as they are needed for administrative, legal, fiscal, or audit purposes, and that they are properly disposed of once their value to the office and the school system has passed. Adherence to the schedule is important for the efficient and proper functioning of BCPS.
“In spite of these inquiries, we will continue to focus on improving outcomes for students and providing a conducive learning and working environment for all.”