Public Records Request
In accordance with the MA Public Records Law effective January 1, 2017, any request for school department public records should be directed to the Records Access Officer (RAO), Mrs. Patricia B. Silvia. Written requests may be sent to Mrs. Silvia at the Office of the Supt. of Schools, Berkley Public Schools, 21 North Main St., Berkley, MA 02779 or via e/mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
BERKEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS - Public Records Policy #1270
All records of the school district are open public records except for the following:
- Minutes of Executive Sessions under conditions set forth in Policy #1560, Section 3;
- Employee personnel files;
- Individual student records and files;
- Sealed bids prior to formal opening;
- Tentative agreements achieved between the School Committee and employee groups during collective bargaining and prior to signing of formal agreement.
In compliance with the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 66, Section 10, as most recently amended, a Public Records Policy revision was adopted by the Berkley School Committee by their vote at the regularly-scheduled meetings.
The School Committee shall designate by its vote the Superintendent of Schools to have custody of the district’s public records (MGL, Chapter 66, Section 6).
In accordance with Chapter 121 of the Acts of 2016, a “Records Access Officer” (RAO) will be designated as the person responsible for responding to public records requests. RAO will follow steps outlined in the “Acts”. The RAO contact information will be posted on the district website, posted in the district and shared with parents and staff.
Public records shall be those as defined in Chapter 4, Section 7, clause twenty-six, as most recently amended and Chapter 66, Section 3.
Records must be provided to a requestor by electronic means unless the record is not available in electronic format or the requestor does not have the ability to access them electronically.
Initial response must be within ten (10) business days. The initial response may be for a) the production of some/all of the records requested, and/or b) notice of intent not to furnish certain records, and/or c) notice of an inability to furnish records within ten (10) business days.
When an exception applies, the RAO must notify the requestor in writing, still within ten (10) business days of the request, of the specific details including which documents are being withheld and why; which documents are not within the district’s possession, custody or control; which documents will be furnished; a good faith estimate of any fees that may be charged for the production of the records; a reasonable timeframe in which the records will be provided – which may not exceed twenty-five (25) business days from the initial request; and a statement regarding the requestor’s appeal rights.
To have more than twenty-five (25) business days to furnish records, an RAO must either negotiate an extension with the requestor or petition the supervisor of records for an extension based on good cause. Upon a showing of good cause, the supervisor of records may grant a single extension which may not exceed thirty (30) business days.
If the district fails to comply with the legal requirement to issue an appropriate initial response within ten (10) business days of the request, the district is barred from charging any fees for the production of the documents.
Document fees are capped at five ($.05) cents per page, whether the page is single or double sided. Additionally, the fees may not exceed the actual cost of reproducing the documents and fees may not be charged for any records that are readily accessible to the public (i.e. on the district’s website).
Labor fees include time spent searching for, compiling and reproducing a record, as well as time spent segregating and redacting when such segregation/redaction is either required by law or approved by the supervisor or records. Labor time of district employees, necessary vendors, and outside legal counsel (who will typically review records to identify necessary redactions), are relevant to the calculation. As a starting point, if the district is in a municipality with a population over 20,000 then there may be no charge for the district’s first two (2 hours of labor). If the district is in a municipality with a population under 20,000, every hour of labor counts.
Generally, labor costs may not exceed $25 per hour. Exceptions apply, but to charge a fee greater than $25 per hour, the district must petition the supervisor of records, explain why a higher hourly rate is both necessary and reasonable, and seek approval for the higher rate.
Requestors may petition the supervisor of records for a determination of whether the district has violated a provision of the law. Failure to provide an appropriate initial response, failure to comply with the statutory timeframes, charging fees beyond that which is permitted under the law, and withholding documents that should have been produced are all examples of issues on which a petition might be filed. Within ten (10) business days of receiving the petition, the supervisor of records will make a determination and award relief when appropriate. Non-compliance may lead to a judicial award of attorney’s fees and litigation costs to be paid by the public entity to the requestor,
This policy will be posted in the office of the Superintendent of the Berkley Public Schools, located at 21 No. Main Street, Berkley, Massachusetts (Chapter 262, Section 46).
Upon request of the person paying fees, a written receipt shall be provided specifying the amount of them and for what they respectively accrued (Chapter 262, Section 18).
All fees received for inspection or copy of public records shall be turned over the respective town treasurer.
References: Chapter 66, Sections 1, 6, 10, Chapter 262, Sections 18, 38, 43, 44, 45, Chapter 4, Section 7, Clause 26
Rules and Regulations Promulgated by the Supervisor of Public Records under the provisions of Chapter 30A as most recently amended.
Adopted: May 8, 1973; Amended: June 1978; Reviewed: October 21, 1991; Amended: December 13, 1999; Approved: November 20, 2000
Approved: November 18, 2002; Reviewed: March 13, 2006; Reviewed: April 6, 2009; Amended: March 13, 2017