Chapter 13 Open Records Requests
Georgia’s Open Records Law provides the public with broad access to governmental records and documents. The public has a right to see, inspect and copy all “public records.” “Public records” are broadly defined to include the following:
Computer –based or generated information
Similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of a public office or agency.
The records custodial is allowed a “reasonable amount of time” to determine whether the records requested are subject to access under the Law. However, the custodial must respond to all requests within three business days of receiving them.
If the records exist and are subject to inspection but are not available within three business days, a written description of such records and a timetable for their inspection and copying must be provided within that time period.
If access to a record is denied in whole or in part, the records custodian must provide in writing the specific legal authority exempting such record from disclosure.
How to make a request to inspect Atlanta Public Schools records
Constituent Services – Open Records Specialist
Atlanta Public Schools
Fax: (404) 802-1807
Phone: (404) 802-2811
130 Trinity Ave, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Please note that APS charges reasonable fees for the production of records in accordance with the laws of the state of Georgia. See the Georgia Attorney General's Frequently Asked Questions for details.
If you receive an open records request follow the steps below:
Send the request to Kent Purnell-Johnson, Constituent Services – Open Records Specialist, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the three day time-frame begins once you receive the request.
If you have records responsive to the request, begin gathering them.
If you receive an open records request from Constituent Services, follow the steps below:
As soon as possible, let Constituent Services know if responsive records exist, whether or not you have access to them, and if there are other employees who have responsive records not copied on the request.
Take note of the due date for the district’s response.
Gather the responsive records. This should be done by the lowest paid full-time employee qualified to perform the search.
Compile the following information to be used in Constituent Services official response to the requestor (this must be sent within the three day time-frame):
What records you have possession of that are responsive to the request.
An estimated amount of hours needed to be actively fulfilling the request.
An estimate as to the volume of records available. In other words, how many pages, CDs, tapes, etc. are there? (Bullets a, b, and c are used to estimate cost for the request.)
If the documents cannot be made available within the three day time-frame, explain why and provide a reasonable extended due date.
If you have knowledge of responsive records being maintained outside of your possession, please feel free to notify Constituent Services. We want to make sure that we are very thorough in providing all responsive records, so feedback is greatly appreciated.
Provide Constituent Services with a copy of the responsive records as quickly as possible. Electronic format is preferable (when possible), and records can also be hand delivered or sent to Constituent Services through APS interoffice mail.
Provide an un-redacted, complete copy of the responsive records within your possession unless you are in OIR, HR, or Legal.
Appropriate Fees for Copies of Records
Determine whether any records of the kind requested exist and where they are located. That is, are they stored at another location, are they archived, or do they no longer exist.
Prepare an estimate of the following:
Copies @ 25 cents per page
Copying of data to disk + cost of CD/disk/flash drive
Research/retrieval time x Employees’ hourly rate (first 15 minutes are free)
Employee’s hourly rate for on-site inspection (designate someone to oversee inspection/copying)
Provide the hourly rate of designated employee and estimated cost to Constituent Services.
An open records request can be made by phone, fax, email, or through a hard copy and is considered received once anyone in the district is in receipt of it.
If you have any records in your possession—including at home or at a remote storage location—that are responsive to a request, you are required to provide access to them.