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Management Bulletin 06-03

Information and directions about retention of records for adult schools and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title II grant recipients.

Secondary, Postsecondary, and Adult Leadership Division

Subject: Retention of Records

Number: 06-03

Date: April 3, 2006

Authority: Education Code sections 41020 and 35254, California Code of Regulations, title 5, sections 400, 401, 431, 432, 16020-16027, Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, sections 74.53 and 80.42 (b)(4)

To: Adult Education Programs Funded by State Apportionment


The purpose of this bulletin is to give direction to adult schools and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title II grant recipients on record retention.


Adult schools and other agencies providing adult education and literacy services often ask questions about what records should be saved and for how long. To respond to these questions, there are three issues to consider:

  1. What constitutes student records for state funded schools;
  2. The classification of records per California Code of Regulations (CCR) title 5. Subchapter 2, Section 16022, "Destruction of Records of School Districts-Classification;"
  3. The retention of records by a recipient of federal grant funds.

Student Records

Student records for schools must be kept on file for each pupil enrolled in school and the school must maintain all mandatory records (for high school diploma students), or an exact copy of the records, for every pupil enrolled in the district. Each school district shall maintain indefinitely all mandatory permanent pupil records. (5 CCR sections 430, 432, and 16023). "Mandatory Permanent Pupil Records" are defined in title 5 CCR section 432 (b) (1) as those records which are maintained in perpetuity and which schools have been directed to compile by California statute, regulation, or authorized administration directive (see attachment). This information can be accessed at California Code of Regulations External link opens in new window or tab..

Record Classification

California Code of Regulations, title 5, subchapter 2, "Destruction of Records of School Districts," commencing with section 16020, classifies records into Class 1-permanent; Class 2-optional, and Class 3-disposable, and gives directions on how to classify records. Class 3-disposable records shall not be destroyed until after the third July 1 succeeding the completion of the audit required by California Education Code (EC) Section 41020, or any other legally required audit, or after the ending date of any retention period required by any other agency other than the State of California.

Federal Grant Requirement

Under the General Assurances of the California Department of Education’s submission for funds pursuant to the WIA, Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, agencies receiving federal grant funds must maintain auditable records on file for a specified time as outlined in Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), 34 C.F.R. section 80.42(b)(4). This section applies to all financial and programmatic records. The length of the retention period for records shall be for a minimum of three years after the submission of the last expenditure report for that period (usually June 30 of each year).

Generally, recipients are required to keep records associated with grant transactions for three years after the financial status report is submitted for the grant. The single audit and coordinated audit approaches are timed so that all of the requirements will be accomplished before the three-year period expires.

If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit or other action involving the records began before the expiration of the three-year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arose from it, or until the end of the three-year period, whichever is later.

Finally, for English Literacy/Civics Education grantees that use a portfolio to evaluate student progress, these documents are returned to the students. Items kept on file for audit purposes are:

  1. Rubrics used to evaluate students and grades indicating a "pass" or "fail;"
  2. A sample of portfolios that represent those evaluated as "passing" or "failing;"
  3. A master grade sheet or report showing the additional assessment evaluation.

Statutory Requirement

California EC sections 41020 and 35254

Regulatory Requirement

EDGAR 74.53 and 80.42 (b) (4) (34 C.F.R. sections 74.53 and 80.42(b)(4))
Code of Federal Regulations, 34 C.F.R. section 74.53
California Code of Regulations, title 5, sections 400, 401, 430, 431, 432, and 16020-16027

If you have any further questions regarding this subject, please contact your assigned regional consultant at the California Department of Education, Adult Education Office, at 916-322-2175.

This Management Bulletin is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement. Any portion of this Management Bulletin that is not supported by a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement is not prescriptive pursuant to EC Section 3308.5.

Questions:   Adult Education Office | | 916-322-2175
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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