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4040P - Public Access to District Records Procedure

These procedures have been established by the Superintendent and published pursuant to District Regulation 4040 and RCW 42.56.040 to explain the process for public access to school District records and to provide guidance in how the District will respond to such requests. When processing such requests, the District will provide the fullest assistance to the requestor and provide a response in as timely a manner as reasonably possible in relation to the nature of the request. 

District Public Records Officer

For the most timely and efficient response, requests for school District records should be directed in writing to the Public Records Officer listed below, whose responsibilities include serving as a point of contact for members of the public in this process and overseeing the District’s compliance with the Washington Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW, and Regulation 4040.

The current Public Records Officer of the District may be reached at the District’s Central Administrative Building as follows:

Tricia Romo, Public Records Officer
5150 220th AVE SE
Issaquah, WA 98029

Display of Descriptions, Policies and Procedures

The public records officer will compile, prominently display and make available the following for inspection and copying by the public at the District’s central office or electronically:

  1. Descriptions of the District’s organizational structure;
  2. Descriptions or statements of the general course and method by which the District operates;
  3. Descriptions of how, where and from which employees the public can obtain information and copies of public records this Regulation and procedure;
  4. Descriptions or statements of all formal and informal District procedures; and
  5. All statements of general Regulation.

The public records officer will update the displayed materials identified above whenever an item is amended, revised or repealed.

Information Online

A variety of records and information are available on the District website at Requestors are encouraged to view the documents available on the website prior to submitting a records request.

Electronic Records

Electronic records (including e-mail and web content) created and received by the District in the transaction of public business are public records for the purposes of RCW 40.14 and will be managed consistent with all of the laws and regulations governing the retention disclosure, destruction and archiving of public records. The District will manage electronic records according to the same provisions as paper documents as set forth in the records retention schedules. Electronic records will be retained in electronic format and remain usable, searchable, retrievable and authentic for the length of the designated retention period. The District will retain electronic records designated as archival in the original format along with the hardware and software required to read the data, unless the data has been successfully migrated to a new system. The District will retain records in compliance with the General Records Retention Schedule For School Districts And Educational Service Districts in Washington State found at:

Identifiable Records

A request under the Washington Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW and District Regulation 4040 must seek an identifiable record. General requests for information from the District that do not seek identifiable records are not covered by Regulation 4040. Similarly, the District is not obligated by law to create a new record to satisfy a records request for information. 

Requests for Inspection and Copying

Upon written request, the District will make available to any person for inspection and copying any disclosable record or records not exempted by District Regulation.

Written requests for inspection and/or copying of records may include:

  1. Name, address, and signature of the party requesting disclosure and the date of the request;
  2. Specification of the records or types of records requested; and
  3. A statement of the intended use of requested documents if lists of individuals are included. The District will not deny a request solely due to refusal to furnish a reason for the request.

Written requests for inspection and/or copying of records will be submitted to the officer at the District’s central office or to the public record’s custodian at the place where the requested records are kept. If a request is significant/broad, the District may make the records installment available on a partial or installment basis.

Written requests should be submitted and records made available for inspection and copying during the customary business hours of the District’s central office and/or the facility where the requested records are kept.

With respect to those records which the officer has designated in writing as "open to inspection," the public record’s custodian at the facility where the record is kept will have authority to grant a request for inspection and copying. With respect to all other records, a request for inspection and copying will be granted only after review and approval of the request by the officer.

A response to each written request for inspection and copying of District records will be provided within five business days. The District may respond by providing the requested record denying the request, or acknowledging receipt of the request and providing a reasonable estimate of the time the District will require to respond. Any denial of a request will contain an explanation of the statutory basis of the denial. If a record contains disclosable information, the District will disclose the record with the nondisclosable portion deleted or redacted and provide a written explanation of the statutory basis for the deletion.

Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part, under a specific exemption contained in chapter 42.56 RCW or another statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records.

If the District believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the Public Records Officer will state in writing the specific exemption (and statutory section) which applies and provide a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record being withheld or redacted. This exemption and explanation will be provided to the requestor in a withholding index or log.

If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, but the remainder is not exempt, the Public Records Officer will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and indicate to the requestor why portions of the record are being redacted in the withholding index or log.

If the public record’s officer concludes that disclosure of a requested record that is not exempt from disclosure is not in the public interest and would substantially and irreparably damage any person or vital governmental function, the officer will seek a court injunction to prevent disclosure.

Staff will provide full assistance to members of the public making inquiries or requests related to District records. Staff will locate and produce for inspection requested records which are not exempt from disclosure and which have been sufficiently identified in a request for inspection. Staff may respond to a request by providing the requester with an Internet address and link on the District’s website where the requested information can be found. However, if the requester indicates that they cannot access the records through the internet, the District will provide the records another way.

Staff may request a clarification of any request that is unclear and need not respond if the request is not clarified. On request, the District will make copies of public records for a per-page fee of fifteen cents and the actual cost of postage and an envelope, if any. Determining the actual cost of copying is excessively burdensome; therefore, the District is using the statutorily determined fifteen cents per page charge. The District may require a deposit not to exceed 10 percent of the estimated cost of providing copies of a request and may charge per installment. The District may stop filling a request if an installment is not claimed.

A staff member may condition access to a public record containing a list of individuals on the requester’s promise that the record will not be used for a commercial purpose, but may not require the requester to enter into a hold harmless agreement to that effect.

The officer and student record’s custodian will have authority to impose reasonable conditions on the manner of inspection of records so as to minimize the risks of damage or disorganization of the records and to prevent excessive interference with other essential operations of the District.

When the request is for a large number of records, the Public Records Officer or designee has the right to provide access for inspection and copying in installments. If, within thirty (30) days, the requestor fails to inspect the entire set of records or one or more of the installments, the Public Records Officer or designee may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request and discussed further below.

The requestor must claim or review the assembled records within thirty (30) days of the District's notification to them that the records are available for inspection or copying. The District should notify the requestor in writing of this requirement and inform the requestor that he or she should contact the District to make arrangements to claim or review the records. If the requestor or a representative of the requestor fails to claim or review the records within the thirty-day period or make other arrangements, the District may close the request and refile the assembled records.

When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill their obligations to inspect the records or pay the deposit or final payment for the requested copies, the Public Records Officer will close the request and indicate to the requestor that the District has closed the request.

If, after the District has informed the requestor that it has provided all available records, the District becomes aware of additional responsive documents existing at the time of the request, it will promptly inform the requestor of the additional documents and provide them on an expedited basis.

List of Laws Exempting or Prohibiting Disclosure

Pursuant to RCW 42.56.070 (2), these rules contain a list of laws—other than those specifically listed in the Washington Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW—which may exempt disclosure of certain public records or portions of records. The District has identified the following laws:

  • The Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g (regarding student educational records);
  • Washington State Student Education Records Law, RCW 28A.605.030;
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et. seq. and 34 C.F.R. Part 300 (protecting the confidentiality of personally identifying information contained in student records of students with disabilities).
  • Privileged communications and attorney work product, such as set forth in Chapter 5.60 RCW;
  • Information on students receiving free or reduced lunch, 42 USC § 1758(b)(6); 
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), 45 CFR parts 160-164 (regarding health care information privacy and security);
  • Abuse of Children – Protection and Procedure, RCW 26.44.010; RCW 26.44.030(9);
  • Notification of Juvenile Offenders, RCW 13.04.155(3);
  • Examination Questions, RCW 28A.635.040;
  • Public Law 98-24, Section 527 of the Public Health Services Act, 41 USC § 290dd-2 (confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records);
  • United States and Washington Constitutional provisions including, but not limited to, the right of privacy and freedom of association.

In addition to these exemptions, RCW 42.56.070 (9) prohibits providing access to lists of individuals requested for commercial purposes, and the District may not do so unless specifically authorized or directed by law.

The above list is for informational purposes only and is not intended to cover all possible exemptions from the public records law. The above list includes only exemptions which may be in addition to those set forth in Chapter 42.56 RCW. Under appropriate circumstances, the District may rely upon other legal exemptions which are not set forth above or contained within the public disclosure law.



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