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BOARD POLICIES
Access to District’s Public ...

2:250 Access to District’s Public Records

The District’s “public records” are those records and documents, regardless of physical or electronic form, pertaining to the transaction of public business and as further defined by law, including the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), and the District’s FOIA Administrative Procedures.  The District shall maintain and make available for inspection a reasonably current list of the types and categories of records under its control, as well as those documents that are immediately available upon request.

The District shall respond to all written requests for public records as set forth in this Policy and the District’s FOIA Administrative Procedures.  The Superintendent shall designate one or more employees as the District’s Freedom of Information Officer (“FOIA Officer”) to receive FOIA requests, coordinate review of the relevant information, and respond on behalf of the District in a timely manner.  Each FOIA Officer shall successfully complete the required training through the Public Access Counselor’s office of the Attorney General on a timely basis.

Requests to inspect and/or copy the District’s public records must be submitted in writing, and are expected to be directed to the District’s FOIA Officer.  Requests are expected to specify with reasonable particularity which public records are sought to avoid inefficient use of staff time in retrieving and preparing records for inspection. Repeated requests from the same person for the same records that are unchanged or identical to records previously provided or properly denied under FOIA are deemed unduly burdensome and may be denied.  If a request is for a commercial purpose, as defined in FOIA and the District’s FOIA Administrative Procedures, the requester is expected to disclose that in his or her initial written request.  It is a violation of FOIA for a person to knowingly obtain a public record for a commercial purpose without disclosing that it is for a commercial purpose, if requested to do so by the District.  Notwithstanding the above, the FOIA Officer shall respond to requests for commercial purposes and to recurrent requesters (as those terms are defined in Section 2 of FOIA) according to Sections 3.1 and 3.2 of FOIA. 

The District shall approve the written FOIA request, unless (1) the requested document is not a “public record” as defined in FOIA and the District’s FOIA Administrative Procedures; (2) the public record is exempt by law from inspection and copying; or (3) complying with the request would be unduly burdensome.  If an otherwise non-exempt responsive record contains information that is exempt from disclosure, the District will redact the information that is exempt and make the remaining information available for inspection and copying. 

The Board periodically shall set fees for reproducing public records in accordance with FOIA.  Such fees shall be set forth in the FOIA Administrative Procedures.  In addition to copying fees, persons making a request for a commercial purpose, as defined by FOIA, must pay a fee of $10 for each hour spent by personnel in searching for and retrieving the record.  However, no fees shall be charged for the first 8 hours spent by personnel in searching for or retrieving a requested record.  The District also charges the actual cost of retrieving and transporting public records form an off-site storage facility when the public records are maintained by a third-party storage facility under contract with the District. Whenever the District charges any fees to a requester making a commercial request, the FOIA Officer shall provide the requester with an accounting of all fees, costs, and personnel hours in connection with the request for public records.

In the event that a written request for access to District public records is denied, in whole or in part, the FOIA Officer shall provide the individual making the request with a written statement of the reasons for the denial and notice of the right to appeal the decision to the Public Access Counselor’s office of the Attorney General and the right to judicial review.

The School Board President, FOIA Officer, Superintendent or designee shall report to the Board of Education at each regular meeting any FOIA requests as well as the status of the response(s).

The Superintendent is authorized to develop Administrative Procedures to implement this Policy.  The Superintendent and FOIA Officers shall implement this Policy in accordance with the District’s FOIA Administrative Procedures and all applicable law.

LEGAL REF.:        5 ILCS 140/, Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
                             105 ILCS 5/10-16 and 5/24A-7.1.
                             820 ILCS 40/11.
                             820 ILCS 130/5.

CROSS REF.:       2:140 (Communications To and From the Board), 5:150 (Personnel Records), 7:340 (Student Records)

ADOPTED:            November 22, 2004

REVISED:             March 22, 2010
                              June 27, 2011
                              January 23, 2012
                              September 28, 2015