GUIDELINES FOR RELEASE OF PUBLIC RECORDS
Designation of Public Records
Anything recorded or preserved that has been created and is being kept by the Gardner Public Schools (GPS) is considered a public record. Exceptions include drafts and preliminary documents, published materials available for sale or rent at the public library, purely personal property and material with limited access due to copyright, patent or bequest.
Designation of Legal Custodian of the Records of GPS
The school committee designates the superintendent and the superintendent’s administrative assistant as the official legal custodians of the records and property of the GPS.
The District is not required to create a new record by extracting and compiling information from existing records in a new format, except as specifically provided by Massachusetts statutes.
Requests do not have to be in writing and the requestor does not have to identify him/herself.
All denials of access must be in writing. If a requester refuses to provide information needed for the delivery of the written denial, this refusal will be noted and filed with a copy of the denial in the district office.
A denial of a written request must inform the requester that the denial is subject to review in an action for mandamus by application to the District Attorney or attorney general.
The request must be reasonably specific for subject matter and length of time involved.
After the receipt of any oral or written request for access to the public records of the District, the official legal custodian will attempt to make such records available as soon thereafter as practical. If a public record cannot be made available at the time of the request, the official legal custodian will inform the requester when the record can be made available. If the legal custodian determines that portions of any records requested contain information that should not be released, the custodian will edit such records to remove the material not to be released and thereafter release the balance of the document.
Any requests for computer records of the District will be referred by the legal custodian to the individual in charge of the equipment involved to determine the cost of any computer search, printing charges, and possible time available on the machine. Since computer time can be expensive, computer information will not be provided until the person requesting the information is informed of the estimated costs.
Any person shall have not only the right to inspect the records of the District, but also the right to receive a reproduction of such records. In the event that a person makes a request for reproduction, that person shall be informed of the costs of locating and reproducing such records.
Costs of Locating Documents
Most of the District’s records are readily available, or can be located in a relatively short period of time. Some of the records of the District are in off-site storage, archived, not on-line on the Districts’ computer or otherwise not immediately available. The legal custodian will be required to provide an estimate of the total anticipated costs for locating anyrecords.
Cost Segregating, Assimilating, Photocopying And Refiling Information:
0.20 per page. There will be a $0.30 per page minimumcost charged for clerical employees’ time in segregating, assimilating and refiling information.
2. The person making the request for copies must indicate the number of copies they are requesting. They will be then given a written estimateto include the copying charges and the labor charge for researching and copying. The total charge for copying must be paid in advance.
The actual cost to the GPS of the tapes or other medium used for reproduction shall also be paid in advance by the person making the request.
If a person wants to come into the office and review records and there is time necessary to segregate or assimilate records, the person wishing to view the records may be charged for the time necessary to get the documents together. An hourly labor charge will be assessed of the lowest paid clerk that has the capability to perform the request function.
Cost of reproduction of records where equipment is not available within the GPS:
If equipment necessary for any reproduction is not available within the GPS, then the GPS will rent whatever equipment is necessary to perform the function and will bill the requester for such rental fee. The cost will be the actual costs paid by the GPS to the third party vendor.
Items in such a situation would include but would not be limited to audio or video tape reproduction equipment, micro film or fiche or ultra fiche reproduction equipment, assorted computer hardware and software.
The actual cost to the GPS for finding the requested information and the cost of the tape or other medium used for reproduction shall also be paid by the person making the request.
[Adopted: November 2002]
[Revised: May 2003]
MGL 66, Section 10