Definition of “Records”
- Any written information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency.
- Public records are considered “writings” regardless of format.
- Facsimile transmissions
- Magnetic or paper tapes
- Computer disks
- Computer files on hard drives or PDA’s
Who May Request Record
- Natural person or Corporation (domestic or foreign)
- Limited liability company
- Any elected member or officer of any local agency
- Not necessarily a resident of school district
- Not necessarily U.S. citizen
How the Public May Request Public Records
- The District can not require that the request be in writing.
- The District can suggest a written request for clarification of what is requested, but may not require it.
Reasons for the Request
The District may ask but not require a reason.
- Requester could be:
- A member of the press – or-
- Someone with idle curiosity
►In both cases, the rights to public records are identical
Format of Documents
- An exact copy must be provided unless impracticable.
- Impracticable means the quality of copy, and is a not basis to avoid any copies at all.
- Electronic records must be made available in the same electronic format you use.
- If a particular format is requested, it should be provided if it’s one that is already in use.
►Caveat: The District may not limit the availability of electronic information to electronic format only.
- Physical copies: Copy of record must be provided upon payment of “direct costs of duplication”
- only actual copying cost may be required (including the cost of ink, paper, equipment, machine operator expense, but:
- not time spent to research, locate, retrieve, and re-file.
Electronic copies: Cost of duplication is limited to the “direct cost.” If request requires data compilation or extraction, or programming, requester may be required to bear the cost.
Time to Response
10 days to either:
- Provide the record
- Respond with a determination as to when the record will be provided.
- Time limits may be extended by written notice (no more than 14 days) for “Unusual circumstances”:
- Records not located at the main office
- Require examination of voluminous, separate, and distinct records
- Require consultation with another agency having substantial interest
- Require compiling data, computer programming, or to construct a computer report to extract data
- Time to locate, volume, or cost
- Not a basis to outright reject a request
- May be a basis to modify the timing, amount, or kind of records to be released when it would otherwise be an unreasonable burden.
- Requirement to assist the requestor in narrowing the request.
Requirement to Assist
Any Public Agency Must:
- Assist the public to identify records and information that are responsive to the request or purpose of the request, if stated.
- Describe the technology and location in which the records exist.
- Provide suggestions for overcoming any practical basis for denying access to the records sought.
Exemptions from Disclosure
- Pupil Records
- Personnel & Privacy Exception
- Employees’ home addresses and home phone numbers
- Preliminary drafts, notes, or intra-agency memoranda not retained in ordinary course
- Pending litigation or claims
- Test questions, scoring keys
- The public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.
Personnel Files Exemption
- Personnel, medical, or similar record may be exempt, if, “the disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
- Protects intimate details of personal and family life, not business judgments and relationships.
The public employee’s right to privacy may be over-ridden by the public’s “right to know” for:
- Employment Contracts
- Well-founded complaints from members of the Public - even if no discipline or finding that the charge is true