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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Regulation 7-3.1

COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Freedom of Information Process/Access to Public Information

The School Division is committed to compliance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and will process requests for information in accordance with the following procedures.

  1. Access to Records
    1. Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizen of the Commonwealth during the regular business hours of the School Division’s School Administration Building and access shall not be denied to citizens of the Commonwealth, representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth, and representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth. Except as otherwise specified in this Regulation, all requests for inspection and/or copying shall be made to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee.
    2. When practicable, the following records shall be available upon demand:
      1. Agendas for School Board Meetings

        Prior to a meeting, copies of the agenda may be obtained from the School Board Clerk or via the School Division website (www.vbschools.com). Agendas will be available at each meeting.

      2. Agenda Material

        Nonexempt School Board Agenda back-up materials will be available for review with the School Board Clerk, School Administration Building. Requests from individuals for copies of nonexempt materials may be made to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee. A fee for reproducing such materials will be charged.

      3. School Board Minutes

        Approved minutes of the School Board will be available for review with the School Board Clerk. Requests for copies of the minutes may be made to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee. A fee for reproducing such materials will be charged. Approved minutes of the School Board for the current year and the year immediately preceding are also available via the School Division website (www.vbschools.com).

      4. Curriculum Materials

        Requests to review curriculum materials may be made to the Department of Teaching and Learning. Requests for copies of curriculum materials or curriculum guides may be made to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee. A fee for reproducing such materials will be charged.

    3. Unless otherwise specified in this Regulation or by the Superintendent or designee, inspection of public records shall take place in the Superintendent’s office area or other appropriate authorized locations in a School Division building and monitored by the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee, and these records shall not be removed from that site. Nonexempt materials maintained in an electronic database shall be produced in any tangible medium or format identified by the requester that is regularly used in the ordinary course of business, including posting the records on a website or delivering the records through an electronic mail address provided by the requester. Copies may be requested in lieu of or at the time of inspection, subject to the charges listed below.
    4. One of the following forms of photo identification must be presented, or a photocopy thereof must be provided, before any person shall be permitted to inspect any records or receive copies of any records:
      1. Press identification identifying the requester as a representative of a newspaper or magazine with circulation in the Commonwealth, or of a radio or television station broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth; or
      2. Driver's License or other official photo identification showing that the requester is a citizen of the Commonwealth.
    5. The Superintendent or designee shall be present during inspection or copying of records. A record of inspection shall be made using the attached form.
  2. Request Procedures
    1. Requests for access to records or information shall be made with reasonable specificity.
    2. All requests for information which are not routine shall be directed to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee via telephone at (757) 263-1007 or via facsimile at (757) 263-1397. For purposes of this Regulation, "routine requests" would include requests for copies of School Division, department or individual school publications; programmatic information; and/or inquiries that can be easily handled over the telephone (i.e. questions about hours of operation, contact names and phone numbers, department/position responsibilities, School Board or any other public meeting dates and agenda, school calendar information, etc.). Non-routine requests would include, but would not be limited to: requests for copies of correspondence; statistical information not included in a School Division, department or individual school publication; working documents that have not been finalized, distributed or released; lengthy reports; personnel and/or student information; legal documents or memoranda; inquiries that would require considerable research, the creation of a new document or the aggregation of existing school data; and requests of a sensitive nature.
    3. Persons requesting access to records or specific information may be asked to complete the attached form. If such person refuses or if the request is made by telephone, facsimile, or e-mail, the requested information shall be transcribed onto the attached form. Any original request shall be appended to the form.
    4. School Division personnel shall provide a copy of this regulation and the attached form to any individual interested in accessing records or receiving information and shall direct the requester to contact the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee. Any written, telephone, or e-mail requests received by School Division employees shall be forwarded to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee with the date and time of receipt of the request noted on the document.
  3. Responding to Requests/Guidelines for School Administrators
    1. School administrators are encouraged to handle routine requests for information. However, non-routine requests as outlined above may be processed under a more formal process, i.e. the citizen can be asked to put his or her request in writing. Subsequently, the following process will be in effect:
      1. All FOIA requests should be directed to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee. Requests may be made via mail, telephone or facsimile. Contact information is: via mail, 2512 George Mason Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038; via telephone (757) 263-1007; or via facsimile at (757) 263-1397. FOIA requests filed by media representatives should also be copied to the Chief Media and Communications Officer, via mail, telephone or facsimile. Contact information is: via mail 2512 George Mason Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038; via telephone (757) 263-1075; or via facsimile (757) 263-1010.
      2. School administrators should date stamp a written FOIA request prior to forwarding it on to the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee. This is critical because FOIA dictates that the requestor be provided a response within five working days of the request.
      3. If the school administrator is the custodian of the records in question, he or she will work with the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee to prepare the appropriate response.
    2. Promptly, but in all cases within five (5) working days of the request, one of the following written responses shall be provided to the requester:
      1. The records shall be made available to the requester for inspection or copies may be provided in lieu of their inspection.
      2. The requested records will be entirely withheld because law prohibits their release, as the Virginia Freedom of Information Act gives the custodian discretion to withhold them, or because such records do not exist. A written explanation identifying with reasonable particularity the volume and subject matter of the withheld records, and with respect to each category withheld, referencing the Code Section containing the specific applicable exemption(s) shall be included.
      3. The requested records will be provided in part and withheld in part because law prohibits the release of part of the records or the custodian has exercised his discretion to withhold a portion of the records. A written explanation identifying with reasonable particularity the subject matter of the withheld portions and referencing, with respect to each category of withheld records, the specific code section(s) which authorize the withholding of the records, shall be included.
      4. If the status of the records cannot be determined within the five-day period, or if it is practically impossible to provide the records within the five-day period, the requester shall be notified of this fact and of the specific conditions, which make a response within the five-day period impossible. Such notice shall be provided within five working days of the request, and one of the three preceding responses shall be provided within an additional seven-day period.
    3. The five-day period shall begin on the first working day following the day the request is received by a School Division employee and shall end at the close of business on the fifth working day. Any time that elapses between the time the requester is notified of an advance cost determination pursuant to the procedures detailed below and the time the requester responds to that notice shall not be counted in calculating the five work days.
  4. Processing Requests
    1. The Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs shall, after receiving a request, promptly make an initial determination as to whether the requested records exist, are fully disclosable, partially disclosable or exempt, or if more time will be needed.
    2. If the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee is unsure whether the requested documents are disclosable or exempt, legal advice shall be promptly sought.
    3. If the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee is uncertain whether the requested records exist or where they may be located, efforts shall be promptly initiated to locate the records or determine whether they exist.
    4. If the requested records exist and are fully or partially disclosable, the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee shall consult with the appropriate staff to determine the cost involved to assemble the records for inspection and copying.
    5. The following costs shall be charged at the rate indicated, not to exceed the actual cost:
      • Staff search time is charged by the quarter hour and will be assessed based on the hourly rate(s) of the staff member(s) involved in the search. When contracted services are required, an average market rate will be quoted. Actual costs will be billed.
      • Photocopies charged at the rate of approximately $0.03 per page for monochrome (black and white) copies and approximately $0.07 per page for copies that require duplication in color.
      • Actual incidental out-of-pocket costs necessary to assemble the records (e.g. phone, postage) will be charged.
    6. If the requester has asked for an advance determination of the cost, or if the cost is expected to exceed $200, the requester shall be notified of the advance cost determination. No further action shall be taken until the requester responds, and the requester must agree to pay the estimated amount before any further processing of the request is performed.
    7. Any records to be disclosed shall be assembled for inspection and copying by School Division employees under the direction and supervision of the Coordinator of Government and Administrative Affairs or designee who will handle the disposition of such information to the requestor.
  5. Other Requests for Information

    School division employees may handle requests for information made by the following or similar entities and routine requests for information are not subject to the process and fee structure set forth in this Regulation:

    1. State mandated advisory committees or boards;
    2. Entities affiliated with the School Division or its various schools (e.g. PTAs and Booster Clubs);
    3. Local, state and federal agencies, departments or representatives;
    4. Organizations of which School Board Members or the Superintendent are members and which provide reciprocal information upon request;
    5. Educational research institutes;
    6. Employees of other school divisions, colleges and universities; and
    7. School Business Partners.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC RECORDS FORM (School Board Regulation 7-3-.1)

Code of Virginia § 2.2-3700 et seq., as amended. Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Approved by Superintendent: July 16, 1991
Revised by Superintendent: August 14, 1993
Revised by Superintendent: November 5, 1999
Revised by Superintendent: February 17, 2000
Revised by Superintendent: August 2, 2001
Revised by Superintendent: April 18, 2002
Revised by Superintendent: August 17, 2004
Scrivener’s Amendments: July 30, 2013
Revised by Superintendent: August 7, 2014
Revised by Superintendent: October 6, 2014