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Public Records Act Overview by Lozano Smith

The Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators.

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LozanoSmith.com Public Records Act 2 DISCLAIMER: As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this document does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein. Copyright © 2018 Lozano Smith - All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be copied, distributed, sold or used for any commercial advantage or private gain, nor any derivative work prepared therefrom, nor shall any sub-license be granted, without the express prior written permission of Lozano Smith through its Managing Partner. The Managing Partner of Lozano Smith hereby grants permission to any client of Lozano Smith to whom Lozano Smith provides a copy to use such copy intact and solely for the internal purposes of such client. By accepting this product, recipient agrees it shall not use the work except consistent with the terms of this limited license. and information that are responsive to the request or to the purpose of the request, if stated; describing the information technology and physical location in which the records exist; and providing suggestions for over- coming any practical basis for denying access to the records. COPIES AND COSTS If requested, exact copies of the record must be provided if possible. If requested in native format, such as in electronic format, the records must generally be provided in that format. Duplication costs may be charged, but only the actual copying costs. This does not include employee time to locate and assemble the records. In rare instances, the cost of producing electronic records may be recoverable if there are costs related to pro- gramming and computer services, and certain other conditions are met, including the necessity of data com- pilation, extraction or programming. RESPONSE TIMELINES Each agency, upon a request for a copy of records, shall, within 10 days from receipt of the request, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the person making the request of the determination and the reasons there- for. This does not equate to a requirement that the records be produced within 10 days. Production should be made in a reasonable time frame. In unusual circumstances, the 10-day time limit may be extended by written notice to the person making the request, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected. The resulting extension cannot be more than an additional 14 days. TIPS FOR MANAGING PUBLIC RECORDS ACT REQUESTS > Public Records Generally: All documents owned, used, retained or prepared for a public agency are public records open to inspection and copying unless there is an applicable exemption. > Respond Promptly: Agencies should be reasonably prompt in responding to requests (promptness depends on the nature of the request). > Duty to Assist: Agencies must provide assistance to the person requesting the records. If the request is vague or ambiguous, help the person articulate what records s/he is seeking and explain what records the agency has. > Provide Existing Documents: A public agency has no duty to create new records, provide a summary of existing records, or create new formats in response to a records request. > Segregating or Redacting Confidential Information: If a record contains confidential and non-confidential information, agencies should generally provide reasonably segregated or redacted portions of the record. > Exemptions: Know the exemptions or where to find them. > Consistency: Maintain a consistent policy or practice when allowing the inspection of records and in charging copy costs. > Access is a Fundamental Right: Remember, the overall purpose of the Public Records Act is to provide the citizens with the basis to know their government's business. > Know the District's Policies and Practices: This includes understanding how emails sent to and from Board members regarding District business will be treated.

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