Full access to the District’s public records is available to any person as provided in the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), this policy, and implementing procedures.
Freedom of Information Officer
The Superintendent shall serve as the District’s Freedom of Information Officer and assumes all the duties and powers of that office as provided in FOIA and this policy. The Superintendent may delegate these duties and powers to one or more designees, but the delegation shall not relieve the Superintendent of the responsibility for the action that was delegated. The Superintendent or designee(s) shall report any FOIA requests and the status of the District’s response to the Board at each regular Board meeting.
The District’s public records are defined as records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of the School District.
A request for inspection and/or copies of public records must be made in writing and may be submitted by personal delivery, mail, telefax, or email directed to the District’s Freedom of Information Officer. Individuals making a request are not required to state a reason for the request other than to identify when the request is for a commercial purpose or when requesting a fee waiver. All requests for inspection and copying shall immediately be forwarded to the District’s Freedom of Information Officer or designee.
Responding to Requests
The Freedom of Information Officer shall approve all requests for public records unless:
1. The requested material does not exist;
2. The requested material is exempt from inspection and copying by the Freedom of Information Act; or
3. Complying with the request would be unduly burdensome.
Within 5 business days after receipt of a request for access to a public record, the Freedom of Information Officer shall comply with or deny the request, unless the time for response is extended as specified in Section 3 of FOIA. The Freedom of Information Officer may extend the time for a response for up to 5 business days from the original due date. If an extension is needed, the Freedom of Information Officer shall: (1) notify the person making the request of the reason for the extension, and (2) either inform the person of the date on which a response will be made, or agree with the person in writing on a compliance period. Notwithstanding the above, the Freedom of Information 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.
When responding to a request for a record containing both exempt and non-exempt material, the Freedom of Information Officer shall redact exempt material from the record before complying with the request.
Persons making a request for copies of public records must pay any applicable copying fee. The Freedom of Information Officer shall, as needed, recommend a copying fee schedule for the Board’s approval. Copying fees, except when fixed by statute, are reasonably calculated to reimburse the District’s actual cost for reproducing and certifying public records and for the use, by any person, of its equipment to copy records. No copying fee shall be charged for the first 50 pages of black and white, letter or legal sized copies. No copying fee shall be charged for electronic copies other than the actual cost of the recording medium.
Fees for Responding to a Request for a Commercial Purpose
In addition to copying fees, persons making a request for a commercial purpose, as defined in 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 from 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 Freedom of Information Officer shall provide the requester with an accounting of all fees, costs, and personnel hours in connection with the request for public records.
The inspection and copying of a public record that is the subject of an approved access request is permitted at the District’s administrative office during regular business hours, unless other arrangements are made by the Freedom of Information Officer.
Many public records are immediately available from the District’s website including, but not limited to, a description of the District and the methods for requesting a public record.
Preserving Public Records
Public records, including email messages, shall be preserved and cataloged if: (1) they are evidence of the District’s organization, function, policies, procedures, or activities, (2) they contain informational data appropriate for preservation, (3) their retention is required by State or federal law, or (4) they are subject to a retention request by the Board Attorney (e.g. a litigation hold), District auditor, or other individual authorized by the School Board or State or federal law to make such a request. Unless its retention is required as described in items numbered 3 or 4 above, a public record, as defined by the Illinois Local Records Act, may be destroyed when authorized by the Local Records Commission.
LEGAL REF.: 5 ILCS 140/, Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
105 ILCS 5/10-16.
820 ILCS 130/5.
CROSS REF.: 2:140, 5:150, 7:340
ADOPTED: October 4, 1999
REVISED: April 28, 2003, December 18, 2004; December 21, 2006; February 25, 2010; September 25, 2014
REVIEWED: October 2016