Freedom of Information Act

8310 - PUBLIC RECORDS

The Board of Education recognizes its responsibility to maintain the public records of this District and to make such records available to residents of Michigan for inspection and reproduction.

The public records of this District include any writing or other means of recording or retaining meaningful content prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by the District, its Board, officers, or employees, subject to certain exemptions according to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Any person may make a written request for any public records of the District. The person may inspect, copy, or receive copies of the public record requested. The District shall respond to such requests within five (5) working days after receipt unless otherwise agreed to in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

An individual may purchase copies of the District's public records upon payment of a fee. No original public record may be removed from the office in which it is maintained except by a Board officer or employee in the course of the performance of his/her duties. Neither the Board nor its employees shall permit the release of the social security number of an employee, student, or other individual except as authorized by law (see Policy 8350 and AG 8350).

The Board authorizes the Superintendent to provide, upon written request, enhanced i.e. immediate access to any public record which the District has stored in an electronic database and is not confidential or exempt from disclosure by State or Federal statute. Such a record may be provided by means of a computer disk provided by the requestor, electronic mail, or a modem providing the requestor has paid the fee established for such transmission.

The Board has determined that personal and confidential information provided to and retained by the District on parents, students, staff and others will be considered exempt from disclosure pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, unless advised specifically by the District's legal counsel that the particular information must be released. Such personal and confidential information shall include home addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses or website pages (e.g. My Space, Facebook), except as they are specifically related to the operation of the schools, or specifically authorized for release by the individual, or the parent/guardian if the individual is a minor.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed as preventing a Board member from inspecting in the performance of his/her official duties any record of this District, except student records and certain portions of personnel records.

The Superintendent is authorized to dispose of correspondence on a daily basis including those transmitted by means of voice mail or E-mail, providing the message does not alter existing District records.

The Superintendent is responsible for transmission of data contained in the single record student data base established by the Michigan Department of Education. Such transmission shall be in accordance with procedures established by the Ionia County Intermediate School District and the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI).

The Superintendent shall establish administrative guidelines to ensure proper compliance with the intent of this policy and the Freedom of Information Act.


 

8350 - CONFIDENTIALITY

It is the policy of the Board of Education that when the District receives in trust from a public agency information identified to be confidential or exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, Common Law, Privilege Case Law, or Federal Law, the Board will maintain the confidentiality of said information to the maximum extent permitted by the law.

Further, employees must not divulge confidential information contained in any records and files of this Board.

Employees must not divulge confidential information contained in the records and files of this Board, except to other employees who may need such information in connection with their duties and to authorize parties in accordance with proper departmental procedures.

Neither the Board nor its employees shall permit the release of the social security number of an employee, student, or other individual except as authorized by law (see AG 8350). Documents containing social security numbers shall be restricted to those employees who have a need to know that information or a need to access those documents. When documents containing social security numbers are no longer needed, they shall be shredded by an employee who has authorized access to such records.

Freedom of Information Act requests shall only be responded to in accordance with the District’s Policy.

If an employee is approached to provide information inappropriately, the employee must refuse to release the requested information in accordance with applicable procedures, and should refer the requestor to the employee's immediate supervisor.

Any employee who inappropriately releases information, or uses confidential information for personal reasons, will be disciplined in accordance with established policies and procedures.

In order to prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of information identified as confidential by a sending public agency, the Board may seek to obtain court protection by:

 

A.

denying requests for release of such information absent subpoena or court order;

   
 

B.

pursuing motions to quash or protective orders to prohibit unauthorized disclosure.

When possible, the Board will attempt to notify the sending public agency of the request for release of such information prior to complying with the request.

Employees who intentionally violate this policy are subject to discipline, up to and including discharge.

The Superintendent shall assure that employees receive a copy of and have readily available access to this policy.