Policy Details Page

Regulation 4040R

  • Scope of Policy
    In accordance with RCW 42.56.040, this regulation establishes procedures for making requests under the Public Records Act. Requests by current employees or their union representatives for employment records should be made to the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. Requests for student records by a current or former student or the student’s parent/guardian, should be directed to the building administrator at the student’s school or to the Student Records Department of the District. This policy and a form for records requests shall be available on the Tacoma School District website and shall be available to read and copy during business hours at the Central Administration Building.
  • Public Records Officer
    Any person wishing to request access to any public record of the District, including a record maintained at any District school (collectively “District Records”), or seeking assistance in making such a request, shall make a request in writing, by e-mail, or by fax through the District’s Public Records Officer at Central Administration Building. The e-mail address of the Public Records Officer is: publicrecords@tacoma.k12.wa.us. Contact information for the Public Records Officer is also available at the District’s website at: www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/departments/legal. The fax number is (253) 571-1440.

    The address for the Public Records Officer is:
    Public Records Officer
    Tacoma Public Schools
    PO Box 1357
    Tacoma, WA 98401

    A Public Records Request form is posted on the District’s website for the requestor’s convenience and is the preferred means of submitting requests to the District. The form is located at: www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/departments/legal.

    The Public Records Officer will oversee compliance with the District’s policy and regulation on public records, but other staff may process or locate the request. All staff are required to cooperate with assisting in locating records that may be responsive to a public records request.
  • Records Index.
    The District finds that maintaining an index of all records is unduly burdensome and would interfere with District operations due to the fact that the District has too many documents to index, too many school locations and departments, and too many new documents being created at all schools and locations. Creating and maintaining an index would significantly detract from the performance of essential educational job duties.
  • Organization of District Records.
    The District will maintain its records in a reasonably organized manner. The District will take reasonable actions to protect records from damage and disorganization. A requestor shall not take District Records from District offices without the permission of the Public Records Officer. The District will make efforts to make routinely requested documents available on its website at http://www.tacoma.k12.wa.us. Requestors are encouraged to view the documents available on the District’s website prior to submitting a records request.
  • District has no Duty to Create Records.
    The District is not obligated by law to create a new record to satisfy a records request.

    The District may choose to create a new record depending on the nature of the request and the convenience of providing the information in a new document, such as when data from multiple locations is requested and can be combined into a single new record.
  • Request
    • A request for District Records shall include the following information:
      • Name and address of the requestor;
      • Other contact information, including telephone numbers and any email address;
      • Identification of the District Records requested. The request should identify with enough specificity what is requested to allow the Public Records Officer to locate the records; and
      • The date of the request.
      • If lists of individuals are requested, a statement that the information will not be used for commercial purposes.
    • The Public Records Officer may accept requests for District Records that contain the above information by telephone or in-person. If the Public Officer accepts such a request by telephone, he/she will confirm receipt of the request in writing.
  • Responding to a Public Records Requests
    • Rules and Guidelines. The District will provide full access to District Records, protect records from damage or disorganization, prevent excessive interference with other essential functions of the agency, provide fullest assistance to requestors, and provide the most timely possible action on public records requests. The Public Records Officer will process requests in a reasonably efficient order, taking into account the scope of the request and the workload of staff assisting with the request.
    • Acknowledging Public Records Requests. Within five (5) business days of receipt of a request, the Public Records Officer will do one or more of the following:
      • Make the records available for inspection or copying or, if copies are requested and terms of payment are satisfied, including payment of a deposit if required, send copies of the documents to the requestor; or
      • Provide a reasonable estimate of when the requested records will be available for inspection or copying; or
      • If the request is unclear or does not sufficiently identify the requested records, request clarification from the requestor. Such clarification may be requested and provided by telephone or email. If the District does not receive a response to its request, the District may close the request and not respond further; or
      • Deny the request; or
      • Seek a court order enjoining disclosure; or
      • Take such other action as is authorized by law.
    • Revision of Estimate. The Public Records Officer may revise the estimate of when records will be available and notify the requestor of the revised estimate.
    • Protecting Rights of Others. In the event that requested records contain information that may affect the rights of others and/or may be exempt from disclosure, the Public Records Officer may, prior to providing the records, give notice to such other people.
    • Records Exempt from Disclosure. Some records are exempt from disclosure in whole or in part. If the District believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the Public Records Officer will identify the withheld record or portion of records, state the specific exemption, and provide a brief explanation of why the record or a portion of the record is being withheld. If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, the Public Records Officer will redact the exempt portions, provide the non-exempt portions, and state why portions of the record are being redacted.
    • Providing Copies of Records. After inspection is complete or if the requestor asks for copies in lieu of inspection, the Public Records Officer shall arrange for the documents to be copied.
    • Costs for Paper Copies. There is no fee for inspection of District Records. There is no fee for the production of 25 pages of documents or less. It would be unduly burdensome for the District to determine an actual per-page cost for records, therefore a requestor will be required to pay the statutory per page rate (currently $0.15 per page, RCW 42.56.070(8)) for black-and-white copies on paper that is 8.5” by 14” or smaller. The Public Records Officer is authorized to create a fee schedule based on actual costs for other sized copies.
    • The Public Records Officer may require that all copying, shipping, and material fees be paid in advance of the release of the copies. In addition, the Public Records Officer may require a deposit of up to 10% of the estimated cost to copy all records selected by the requestor. If a request is provided in installments, the District is not obligated to fulfill the balance of a request if a prior installment has not been claimed, reviewed, or paid for by the requestor.
    • Costs of Mailing and Materials. The District may charge for the actual costs of mailing, including but not limited to the cost of the shipping container and postage. 

      The District may also charge for the actual costs of oversized photocopies, such as architectural drawings. The District may also charge for materials used to respond to a public records request such as a CD, DVD or videotape. The District may also charge a reasonable fee to scan documents into a PDF format. The Public Records Officer is authorized to determine a fee schedule for these actual costs.
    • Providing Records in Installments. When the request is for a large volume of records or records maintained at numerous locations, the Public Records Officer may elect to respond to the public record request in installments upon notification to the requestor.

      If the requestor fails to inspect an installment within 30 days of notification that the installment is ready for review or copying, the Public Records Officer may deem the request abandoned and is not obligated to fulfill the remainder of the request. When the disclosure of the requested records is complete and all requested copies are provided, the Public Records Officer will indicate in writing that the District has completed a diligent search for the requested records and make any non-exempt records located available for inspection.
  • Inspection of Records.
    • Consistent with other demands and without unreasonably disrupting District Operations, the District shall promptly provide for the inspection of non-exempt District Records. No member of the public may remove a document from the designated viewing area or disassemble or alter any document. The requestor shall indicate which documents they wish the District to copy. The requestor must claim or review the assembled records within 30 days of the District’s notification that the records are available for inspection or copying. The District will 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 fails to claim or review the records within the 30-day period or make other arrangements, the District may close the request and is not required to respond further.
    • Hours of Inspection. District Records must be inspected at the Central Administration Building. Public records are made available for inspection and copying during normal business hours of the District, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding District holidays. The District may adopt modified business hours during June-August, at which times business hours will be 7:30-5:00, Monday through Thursday, or as published on the District website. District holidays are set forth on the calendar available on the District’s website, but normally include all state holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
  • Closing a Withdrawn or Abandoned Request.
    When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill his or her obligation to inspect the records or pay the deposit or final payment for the requested copies within 30 days, the Public Records Officer will close the request and indicate in writing to the requestor that the District has closed the request.
  • Exemptions.
    • The Public Records Act provides that a number of types of documents are exempt from public inspection and copying. In addition, documents are exempt from disclosure if any “other statute” exempts or prohibits disclosure. Requestors should be aware of the following exemptions, outside the Public Records Act, that restrict the availability of some documents held by the District for inspection and copying:
      • The Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act, 20 USC 1232g, regarding student educational records.
      • Washington State Student Education Records law, RCW 28A.605.030.
      • Juvenile records, RCW 13.50.050-100.
      • Information on students receiving free or reduced lunch, 42 U.S.C.§ 1758(a)(6).
      • Privileged communications and attorney work product, RCW 5.60. The above list is for informational purposes only and is not intended to cover all possible exemptions from the Public Records Act. The above list only includes common exemptions for District Records that are in addition to those specifically set forth in RCW 42.56. A complete list of the other statutes that exempt District Records from disclosure is found on the District’s website at: www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/departments/legal. 
    • The District is prohibited by statute from disclosing lists of individuals for commercial purposes and will require each requestor to verify in writing that the information provided by the District will not be used for commercial purposes.
  • K. Review of Denials of Public Record Requests.
    Any person who objects to the initial denial or partial denial of a records request must petition in writing (including email) to the Public Records Officer for a review of that decision,

    The petition shall include a copy of or reasonably identify the written statement by the Public Records Officer or designee denying the request and must specify which portion(s) of the decision should be reviewed. An explanation of the requestor’s reason for disagreeing with the decision may be included in the petition. The Public Records Officer shall review the petition with the General Counsel for the District or his/her designee and shall either affirm or reverse the denial within two (2) business days following the receipt of the petition, or within such other time as the District and the requestor mutually agree. The decision of the Public Records Officer on the petition constitutes the final action of the District.


  • RCW 42.56 Public Records Act
  • WAC 44-14 Public Records Act-Model Rules
  • 20 USC 1232g Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act

Adoption Date: 4/9/81; Revised 1/11/11 .

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