FOIA Requests

Written Public Summary of the Port Huron Area School District's
FOIA Procedures and Guidelines

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), MCL 15.231-15.246, provides for public access to certain public records, permits the charging of prescribed fees and deposits, and provides remedies and penalties for noncompliance. A person has a right to inspect, copy, or receive copies of certain requested public records. Some public records are permitted or required not to be disclosed. A complete copy of the FOIA is available on the Michigan Legislature's website (www.legislature.mi.gov).

Introduction

As a public body under the FOIA, the District has developed procedures and guidelines to implement and assure compliance with FOIA. The District has also created the following written public summary of the specific procedures and guidelines explaining how to submit written requests to the District and how to understand the District's written responses, deposit requirements, fee calculations, and avenues for challenge and appeal.

How to Submit Written Requests

FOIA requests must be submitted in writing to the FOIA Coordinator. A FOIA Request for Public Records form may used to submit request; use of form is not required. The request can be submitted by email, fax or mail, Attention: FOIA Coordinator.

Email: teschenburg@phasd.us
Fax: 810-984-6606
Port Huron Area School District
2720 Riverside Drive
Port Huron, MI 48060

Requests must sufficiently describe a public record, so as to enable the District to find it. Requests should also include a telephone number, to allow a District employee to make contact to resolve issues, clarify the scope of a request or help identify a specific document containing the information sought.

How to Understand the District's Written Responses to FOIA Requests

The District must respond to a FOIA request within five (5) business days. In some cases, the District may extend the time period by ten (10) business days to fulfill a request completely; a response does not necessarily mean the records are provided within five days.

The District can grant the FOIA request, deny the request, or grant it in part and deny it in part. If the request is granted in full or in part, the District can charge a fee to process the request. Fees are calculated according to the District's FOIA procedures and guidelines and documented in a detailed fee itemization form. The fee must be paid before a public record is made available. Furthermore, in some cases, the District will require a good-faith deposit before it processes a public records request.

If the request is denied, the District will provide the basis for its denial in a written notice. The District will also provide notice of an individual's rights to appeal the denial to the Superintendent and/or to file a lawsuit against the District in circuit court.

Deposit Requirements

The District will require a good faith deposit from a requestor before processing a public records request if the entire fee estimate or charge exceeds $50, based on a good-faith calculation of the total fee. The deposit will not exceed one-half of the total estimated fees as identified in a detailed fee itemization. The District's response shall also include a best efforts and good-faith non-binding estimate regarding the time frame it will take the District to comply with FOIA in providing the public records to the requestor.

If the total amount charged in a previous request has not been paid in full, the District may require a deposit of up to 100% of the estimated fee before processing a subsequent public records request.

Fee Calculations

The District may charge a fee for a public records search, for the necessary copying of a public record for inspection or for providing a copy of a public record under the District's procedures and guidelines. The fee shall be limited to actual mailing costs, and to the actual incremental cost of duplication or publication including labor, the cost of search, examination, review, and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information. Labor costs shall be estimated and charged in increments of fifteen minutes, with all partial time increments rounded down.

The District shall not charge for the cost of search, examination, review, and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information unless the failure to charge a fee would result in unreasonably high cost to the District because of the nature of the requests in the particular instance. Under such circumstances, the District shall specifically identify the nature of the unreasonably high costs.

Appeal Process

If the District charges a fee that an individual thinks is too high, denies all or part of a public records request, the requestor may submit to the Superintendent a written appeal that specifically states the word "appeal" and identifies the basis for which the fee should be reduced or the nondisclosure determination should be reversed. Written appeals may be sent to the email or mailing address listed above and will be forwarded to the Superintendent. Additionally, the requestor may pursue a fee reduction or appeal the denial by commencing a civil action in circuit court.

PHASD Public Records Policy

PHASD Confidentiality Policy

FOIA Request for Public Records form

Cost Itemization Worksheet