Important Documents to Keep
Maintaining clear, well-documented professional records is important. OEA recommends that you put together a professional records file. In it, keep all documents that pertain to your employment. They may be needed if a question or issue arises during the year. Documents could ensure a fair evaluation, proper placement on the salary schedule or an easy solution to misunderstandings and disputes. Keep these documents in your professional records file:
- Teaching certificate/licenses
- Transcripts of credits and degrees including attendance
- Documents required for any license renewal or job classification, including inservice records, advanced academic credits, continuing professional development units, special endorsements, highly-qualified assessment/requirements, etc.
- Letters of appointment or hire, including board meeting minutes
- Collective bargaining agreement
- An individual employee contract (if you signed one upon hire)
- Supplemental contracts for extra duty responsibilities
- Current OEA/NEA membership card with ID code (if you don't keep it with you)
- Records of leave accrual and use (accumulated sick leave, personal leave, etc.)
- Copies of current and past assignment schedules
- Insurance information; insurance claim records
- Records pertinent to your retirement
- Commendations, awards and honors
- Yearly salary information; pay stubs
- Performance evaluations, growth plans, and your responses
- Letters of praise or reprimand
- Correspondence or thank you notes from parents and students
- Correspondence from your employer (administrators/supervisors/department heads)
- District policies on student discipline, suspension, expulsion, corporal punishment
- Record of incidents involving student discipline, workplace thefts
- Records of referrals of students with special needs
- Written personal reconstruction of events surrounding student injuries or violence
- School calendar(s)
- A copy of the Association's $1 million liability insurance policy. Download it from OEA's members' only website.
- Record of tax-deductible job-related expenses (save Those Receipts for Classroom/School Supplies!)
Educators can deduct up to $250 in out-of-pocket expenses for purchases of books and classroom supplies. The deduction is available to eligible educators in elementary and secondary schools who work at least 900 hours during a school year as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide. These educators may subtract up to $250 of qualified expenses when figuring their adjusted gross income (AGI). You will not need to itemize deductions to get this benefit.
The IRS suggests that educators keep records of qualifying expenses in a folder or envelope with a label such as "Educator Expenses Deduction," noting the date, amount and purpose of each purchase. This will help prevent a missed deduction at tax time. Details on this and other tax laws are available on the IRS web site at www.irs.gov or by calling 1-800-829-3676.