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Sunday, May 19, 2019  



Submitting Record Retention Schedules For Approval

Wisconsin state law varies slightly between State agencies and local units of government, (counties, cities, villages and towns), with regards to record retention and disposition.


Pursuant to Wisconsin Statute §16.61(4), State agencies may not dispose of a public record unless they have a current record retention schedule, approved by the Public Records Board (PRB), that covers that particular record series.


However, pursuant to Wisconsin Statute §19.21, with some specific exceptions, local units of government must maintain all public records for a minimum of seven years, unless a shorter retention period has been approved by the PRB.


Record retention schedules are reviewed and approved on a quarterly basis.  The process for getting a records retention schedule approved by the PRB is the same for State and local units of government and is outlined below.


  • Once you’ve identified a record series to be scheduled, draft your retention schedule using the Retention Disposition Authorization form and its instructions, insuring all appropriate data and signatures are included.
  • When you have completed the record retention schedule(s), submit it to the PRB Executive Secretary, at the State Records Center, 4622 University Ave, Madison, WI, 53705 or
  • Staff will compile all submitted record retention schedules into packets.  Compiled packets are then distributed quarterly to members of the PRB Records Management Committee for review.  The Records Management Committee meets on a quarterly basis.  Here is a calendar of scheduled submission deadlines and meetings for the PRB and its committees.
  • When the Records Management Committee meets, they will review all record retention schedules submitted for that quarter.  They are reviewed for content, completeness, compliance and conformity to legal, audit, operational and historical significance.  It is recommended that, if possible, you attend this meeting, in case questions arise about your submission that you may be able to resolve.  If you can’t attend, someone will get in touch with you if issues arise.
  • If, during this review, there are questions or issues that need resolved, staff will get back to you and identify what those issues may be.  You will have 2-3 weeks to work with staff in resolving those issues and return the updated/edited schedule back to our office.
  • Completed record retention schedules are then presented to the PRB at its quarterly meeting.  The Board will then vote on approval of those schedules submitted.  If there are any last minute issues that arise during this meeting, or an agency failed to resolve any issues of their submission, those schedules will be held and placed into the next quarterly cycle.
  • The approved schedules will then be forwarded to the State Archivist for his/her signature and then to the PRB Executive Secretary for his/her signature.  Once those signatures are secured, copies will be made and mailed back to your agency.  The originals are maintained for the PRB by the Executive Secretary at the State Records Center.
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—Quick Links—
General Schedules
RDA Forms - Fillable
Retention Disposition Authorization Form - For Submitting Retention Schedules for PRB Approval.

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