The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, is a law that provides the public the right to request access to public records. It is the policy of Grand Rapids Public Schools that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding governmental decision-making, consistent with FOIA.
How to File a FOIA Request from the District
PerBoard Policy 2810-R, all individuals desiring to inspect or receive a copy of a public record shall make a written request to the FOIA Coordinator that describes the public record sufficiently to enable the FOIA Coordinator, or his/her designee, to identify and locate the public record. Anya Lusk, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and General Counsel, acts as the FOIA Coordinator for the district. All FOIA requests must be in writing and delivered to the FOIA Coordinator.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Public Record?
Under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), MCL 15.231, et seq., a Public Record is “a writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body in the performance of an official function from the time it is created.”
Can Some Records be Withheld?
Yes, FOIA exempts several types of records from disclosure, including but not limited to records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices, records with information prohibited from disclosure by other laws, trade secrets, records protected by attorney-client privilege, attorney work-products, etc. For a full list, see MCL 15.243.
How Much Time Does the District Have to Respond?
The District has five (5) business days after it receives a FOIA request to respond. For requests that are sent via e-mail or other electronic means, the District is deemed to have received the request the day after it is sent. For mailed requests, the District may also send a notice of extension for up to an additional 10 business days for a total of 15 business days. MCL 15.235(1), (2).
Can I Inspect a Public Record in Person?
Yes, under FOIA, a Public Body shall furnish reasonable facilities during usual business hours for the purpose of allowing requesters to inspect records and take notes. MCL 15.233(3).
Is there a Fees for Requesting Documents?
A Public Body may charge a fee for a public record search, but it must be limited to actual mailing costs; actual incremental cost of duplication or publication, including labor; or the cost of the search, examination, review, deletion of information, and separation of exempt from nonexempt information. The statute sets limitations on how much can be charged in MCL 15.234.