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He’s got his finger on the district’s 100-year paper trail
POULSBO — Never in a million years did Bill Every think he’d become a records-keeping guru.
However, as the North Kitsap School District’s director of Technology and Information Systems, Every manages a 3-D jigsaw puzzle of hundreds of thousands of student and staff records.
Some of which go back 100 years.
It’s a task comparable to keeping track of the stars in the universe, and in recent years a job that’s workload has multiplied.
“In the last eight years Information Services has morphed into a monumental task to manage and take care of because there’s so much more information to manage,” Every said.
The spike in record numbers came with the implementation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, as now Every must report a vast amount of information on NKSD’s approximate 6,600 students every month.
He has a one-inch thick manual that explains all the different reporting rules, requirements and what specific information must be turned into the state.
Among the monthly reports Every submits to the state: all the students’ names, grades, birth dates, what education services they qualify for, their schedules, teachers and full-time status. The state then uses this data to calculate graduation and dropout rates, WASL data and basic education funding allocations.
Admittedly, Every is the top dog who facilitates all the record keeping, but he has lots of help from others in his department and throughout the various schools.
“Without all the people who help coordinate this, this would never happen,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy, some of the requirements.”
A lot of the records have been transferred over to electronic means, however, some of the items the district is required by law to retain live on in paper form: field trip permission slips, athletic forms, payroll, visitor and school medical logs, budgets.
Outside Every’s office in the Administrative Support Services building are three sets of mammoth black file cabinets, which brim with all sorts of dirt on the staff and students.
Housed at each of the district’s schools are all the students’ active records, where they’ll stay until the student moves on or the record is more than two years old.
In a room in Kingston, boxes — some 50 to 100 years old — accumulate and stack up like a child’s building block tower or a game of Tetris, to total approximately 3,000 strong.
Among the 30- by 40-foot room’s stash are student transcripts, which must be kept 100 years; field trip permission slips, kept for three years; board meeting minutes, which must remain on hand forever; and individual education plans and payrolls, which must be kept for a “really long time.”
“We have boxes with destruction dates of 2067,” Every said with a little touch of disbelief in his voice.
Every spends a few days a year in this room, rifling through the shelves to find expired boxes that can be prepped for destruction day, which only comes once a year. A recently missed destruction day resulted in a backlog of 1,500 record boxes to destroy. This year, 470 boxes are awaiting a trip on the Recall Total Information Management dump truck. Recall is the company that picks up NKSD’s expired boxes, transports them away to a giant shredding facility, and destroys them.
But a shipment of 50 to 60 new boxes just arrived from the schools.
Some of the records may seem frivolous, and Every agrees, but they must be preserved in case legal action ensues and the records are subpoenaed. This scenario has happened, Every said.
He’s had to locate various records for divorce cases, a murder trial or for the Social Security Administration when a child appeals for disability. He’s even had to appear in court to testify that the records were, in fact, true.
For Every, who describes himself as the “nuts and bolts behind all the students and teachers,” his main objective in toiling with the data hoarded over the last 100 years is to, well, destroy it.
“Our main objective is to be able to get rid of the records,” he said. “And we’re supposed to be able to get rid of them.”