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Deferred action record requests flood Riverside Unified School District

October 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Walking into the Riverside Unified School District's storage area may conjure up images of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

The district's physical student records are piled up there, and if it wasn't hard enough already to locate someone's record, President Barack Obama's deferred action program is causing a record request jam. The act provides conditional residency to certain undocumented residents who can prove they graduated from a U.S. high school.

Jacquie Paul, spokeswoman for the RUSD, said the average requests of 30 per week has shot up to as many as 177 per week. That means people used to get them within two days, but it's now taking three to four weeks, she said.

"Sometimes we do have people lined up outside the door, sometimes we have people who come after hours try to get records" Paul said. "It's quite busy."

When a former student comes in and asks for their transcripts, finding them can be one heck of a long process because it's not as simple as pulling up a file on a computer.

"We will have to get it off a pallet, they're layered by years, and we'll have to move everything out from the front, get a forklift, move the pallet down, and look through the pallet - all for one file," said Leslie Hernandez, the district's records supervisor.

At this point, the government isn't about to give school districts more money to deal with the overwhelming demand, so they're asking for the public's help.

Paul said the key to getting the file more quickly is to be ready with accurate information. They also ask for patience.

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