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Federal Grant Allows District to Digitize Student Records

Amherst Central School District was awarded a $75,000 federal records retention grant through the New York State Archives and will use it to digitize inactive student records from 1933-2010. Student records have lengthy retention periods, some up to 10 years with most requiring permanent retention.

Storing 77 years of inactive student records as paper documents, microfiche or DVDs takes up significant physical space and it is difficult to search. It is estimated that a digital record could be found within 15 minutes compared with up to 60 minutes searching paper documents. Several goals will be accomplished through the grant including records preservation, an indexing system for ease of access and freeing up space for current records.

In this round of work, the district is working with Biel’s Document Management Company located in West Seneca to digitize the documents into a format that is easy to search, access, store and be preserved. They will follow New York State Archives Digital Imaging Guidelines and Managing Imaging and Micrographics Projects to remain in compliance. These grant funds awarded under the 2022-23 Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) Grant program can only be used by Amherst CSD for document conversion and access.

The grant funding provides for a part-time records clerk to prepare and review the documents with its digital version to ensure accuracy before disposal. High School student records will be the first batch to be digitized with a June 30, 2023 completion date. Future projects will include the archive room at the high school, Board of Education minutes, personnel files and remaining student files.