Pennsylvania Right To Know Law
The Right To Know Law governs access to public records maintained by Commonwealth, local, judicial, and legislative agencies, including public school districts. The Right To Know Law provides that a public record shall be accessible for inspection and duplication. Under the Right To Know Law, a record in the possession of a school district is presumed to be a public record, subject to disclosure, unless the record falls within one of the thirty exemptions set forth in the Act, is protected by a privilege, or is exempt from disclosure under any other federal or state law or regulation or judicial order or decree. The Right To Know Law establishes procedures for requesting access to public records and for appealing denials to any such request.
In accordance with the Right To Know Law, Big Spring School District has appointed an Open Records Officer. The Open Records Officer is responsible for receiving all requests submitted to the School District pursuant to the Right To Know Law, directing such requests to the appropriate persons within the School District, tracking the School District’s progress in responding to any such requests, and issuing interim and final responses to the requests. Big Spring School District has adopted a Right To Know Request Form, available on our website, which requesters should use when requesting access to and duplication of public records. Requesters may also utilize the uniform form developed by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. Big Spring School District may charge duplication and certification fees, based upon the fee schedule approved by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records.
Upon receipt of a written request for access to a record, the School District will make a good faith effort to determine if the record requested is a public record in the School District’s possession as promptly as possible under the circumstances existing at the time of the request. In all cases, the School District will make a good faith effort to respond within five (5) business days from the date of receiving the written request. If the School District fails to send a response within five (5) business days, the written request for access shall be deemed denied. In some cases, the School District may extend the period in which to respond to a record request up to thirty calendar (30) days. Reasons for extending the response time include, but are not limited to:
· The records require redaction;
· Access requires the retrieval of a record stored in a remote location;
· Access cannot be accomplished due to a bona fide and specified staffing limitation;
· Legal review is necessary to determine whether the record is a subject to access under the Act;
· The requester has not complied with the School District’s policies regarding access to records;
· The requester refuses to pay applicable fees; or
· The extent or nature of the request precludes a response within the required time period.
If you have any questions regarding the Right To Know Law or Big Spring School District Policy 801, please contact Mike Statler, Open Records Officer, at (717) 776-2404.
Big Spring School District Right To Know Request Form - The completed form may be mailed to Mike Statler Open Records Officer, 45 Mt Rock Road, Newville PA 17241 or faxed to (717) 776-4428.
Filing an Appeal
The Right To Know Law further provides for an appeal process. You have a right to appeal in writing to Executive Director, Office of Open Records, 333 Market Street, 16th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333. If you choose to file an appeal, you must do so within 15 business days of the mailing date of this response. See Section 1101 of the RTKL. Please note that a copy of your original Right-to-Know request and this letter must be included when filing an appeal. The RTKL also requires that you state the reasons why the record is a public record and address each of the reasons the District denied your request. Visit the Office of Open Records website at http://openrecords.state.pa.us for further information on filing an appeal.
The District hereby expressly reserves its right to assert any and all exceptions to disclosure pursuant to any Federal or Pennsylvania law and/or as set forth in Section 708(b)(1-30) of the RTKL and further, its right to dispute whether any future requests seek a “record” in accordance with the RTKL should you choose to amend your request at a later date or through the appellate process.