CALUMET CITY | If the information technology expert for Thornton Fractional high schools gets his way, nearly six decades' worth of student transcripts will go into the shredder.
IT Director Wale Ade spent some time during the past two years trying to convince the School Board it no longer needs to keep the physical transcripts of students at T.F. North in Calumet City or T.F. South in Lansing.
Back in 2011, officials approved scanning those transcripts onto a program to make them accessible by computer. But they have been reluctant to approve the destruction of the paper transcripts. State law requires schools to maintain academic records of students for 60 years.
Ade brought the issue up again this week, telling the School Board how having to pay for a storage facility for 44 boxes of transcripts is costing District 215 $150 per month.
School Board members were receptive to getting rid of the old transcripts, to the point where Ade said, “by the end of the school year (in June), we could shred them.”
Ade said that since the transcripts were scanned into the district’s computer system two years ago, there has not been one instance where there were any complications in producing a copy of an old transcript. He said the paper transcripts have sat untouched in storage that entire time.
“I’ve never had a transcript request that I couldn’t find in the system,” he said.
School Board member Lee Ann Revis said that fact sways her even though in the past she was among the most reluctant to toss the old transcripts.
“We’ve given it two years, and it seems to work,” she said.
Ade said there are backups installed to ensure that transcripts are accessible, even if the district’s computer system were to crash. Although Superintendent Creg Williams said he’d like to see a study of the system before a final decision is made.
School Board member Michael Bolz said he would want to see a test in which some random names were chosen from student yearbooks of the 1960s to see how easily their transcripts are produced by the district’s computer system.
School Board President Richard Dust did not come out in favor of tossing the old transcripts. But he pointed out that transcripts for students from the past two years are only available through the computer system rather than paper copies.
“We’re not adding to (the transcripts in storage),” he said. “All the new transcripts are electronic.”