Sussex Technical School District
Policy Statement For the Inspection and Copy
of Public Records Under the Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act (the “Act”) (Title 29, Delaware Code, Chapter 100) establishes the right of the public to inspect and copy public records. Section 10003(b) of the Act provides that a public body, including the Sussex Technical School District (“the District”), must establish rules and regulations regarding access to public records, as well as fees charged for copying such records. Any Delaware resident shall be granted access to the District’s public records under the following terms and conditions.
To establish a policy and procedures for administering freedom of information act requests.
FOIA coordinator: The district public information officer or superintendent’s designee shall serve as freedom of information act coordinator. The FOIA coordinator may designate other employees to assist. The FOIA coordinator shall post their contact information on the district website and share that information with the Department of Justice as required by Delaware code.
Web portal: The district shall develop and maintain a web portal featuring this policy; the FOIA request form promulgated by the office of the attorney general; the name and contact information of the FOIA coordinator; and permitting the receipt of FOIA requests via the internet.
FOIA log: The FOIA coordinator shall maintain a document tracking all FOIA requests, including the requesting party’s contact information; the date the request is received; the district’s response deadline; the date of the response, including the reasons for any extension; the names, contact information and dates of correspondence with individuals contacted in connection with each request; the dates of review by the district, and the names of individuals conducting reviews; whether documents were made available; the amount of copying and/or administrative fees assessed; and the date of final disposition. References to the FOIA coordinator include the FOIA coordinator’s designee.
III. POLICY STATEMENT
The Sussex Technical School District recognizes that public business shall be performed in an open and public manner so that citizens may have the opportunity to observe the performance of public officials and to monitor the decisions that are made. The district further recognizes that it is vital that citizens have easy access to public records in order that society remain free and democratic. To promote these principles, the Sussex Technical School District adopts these policies and procedures.
FOIA REQUESTS: All requests for records shall be in writing and delivered in person; by email; by fax; by U.S. mail; or through the Internet via the District’s web page. The request shall be as specific as possible, and shall describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable the District to locate the records with reasonable effort. The FOIA Coordinator may request that the citizen seeking public records provide additional information to assist in locating records such as the types of records, parties to correspondence, and subject matter of the requested records. The FOIA Coordinator shall make every reasonable effort to assist in identifying the records sought. The District shall not be required to create records, or prepare summaries
, compilations OR INDEXES of records.
RECORDS IN THE CUSTODY OF ANOTHER PUBLIC BODY: If the request seeks records in the possession of, and under the control of, another public body, the FOIA Coordinator will promptly forward the request to this public body and notify the Requesting Party that the request has been forwarded. If, on the other hand, the records sought are controlled by the District, but are not within the District’s possession, the District will provide an itemized written estimate of the cost of retrieving the records. The Requesting Party will then decide whether to proceed with, cancel, or modify the request.
RESPONSE DEADLINE: The District will respond to a FOIA request as soon as possible, but in all events within 15 business days of receipt of the request. The response shall provide access to the records; deny access to all or part of the records, and state the reasons for the denial; or advise that additional time is needed because the request is for voluminous records, legal advice is required, or a record is in storage or archived.
REQUESTS FOR EMAIL: The District will provide emails if it is able to do so with reasonable effort. If the assistance of District information and technology personnel is necessary in order to provide emails, the District will provide the Requesting Party an itemized written estimate of the charges incurred in retrieving such records. The Requesting Party shall then decide whether to proceed with, cancel, or modify the request.
REVIEWING RECORDS: Access for reviewing records shall be provided during the District’s regular business hours.
FEES AND PAYMENT
- The cost of providing copies of paper records shall be:
- No charge for the first 20 pages of standard sized (i.e. 8.5″ x 11″; 8.5″ x 14″; and 11″ x 17″), black and white copies, and $0.10 per page for each copy in excess of 20 copies ($0.20 for two sided).
- The charge for copying 18” x 22” shall be $2.00 per page; 24” x 36” shall be $3.00 per page; and larger than 24” x 36” shall be $1.00 per square foot.
- Color copies/printouts shall cost an additional $1.00 per page for standard sized copies, and an additional $1.50 per page for larger copies.
- There is no charge for the first 20 pages of standard sized, black and white copies from microfilm or microfiche. The charge for each page of such printouts over 20 pages is $0.15 per page.
- The cost of copying records maintained in electronic format will be equal to the material costs in generating the records (i.e. the DVD, CD, or other electronic storage costs).
- There will be no charge for one hour or less of staff time to process a request for records (i.e. identifying records; monitoring review of records; and generating computer records in electronic or print-out form). Administrative fees shall not include legal consultation to determine whether records are exempt from disclosure. Administrative fees shall be billed to the Requesting Party per quarter hour at the current hourly pay grade of the lowest paid District employee capable of performing the service. Every reasonable effort shall be made to minimize administrative fees. Prior to fulfilling any request requiring a Requesting Party to incur administrative fees, the District will provide an itemized written cost estimate of the administrative fees. The Requesting Party will decide whether to proceed with, cancel, or modify the request. When a Requesting Party submits multiple FOIA requests, the District may aggregate staff time to process such requests.
- The full cost of the estimated fees shall be paid before any service is performed.
The FOIA coordinator shall report a summary of FOIA requests to the superintendent at the conclusion of each calendar year.
This policy will be reviewed every three (3) years.
VIII. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
The Public Information Officer or Superintendent’s Designee is responsible for implementing this policy.
IX. EFFECTIVE DATE
Adopted: February 12, 2007, as part of the Board Policy Handbook review/adoption.
Reviewed: January 10, 2011
Revised: November 19, 2012
Revision/First Reading: October 15, 2018
Approved: November 19, 2018