It is SASD’s goal to provide the public with timely access to its public records. Learn more about our public records and how to request them:
What is a Public Record?
The California Government Code defines public records as, “…any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristic.” For example, public records can include, but are not limited to, papers, books, maps, charts, photographs, audiotapes, videotapes, and information stored on a computer.
How is public access to SASD’s records ensured?
The California Public Records Act (PRA) (GOVT. CODE §§ 6250 – 6276.48) is designed to give the public access to information in possession of public agencies. Section 6250 articulates a policy of broad disclosure and provides that “access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” To implement that right, Section 6253 provides that “every person has a right to inspect any public record,” subject only to the express limitations contained elsewhere in the PRA. With the passage of Proposition 59 in 2005, this statutory right is now an express constitutional right.
The PRA provides: “public records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the…agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as…provided, [and to receive] an exact copy [of] an identifiable record” unless impracticable (Section 6253(a)). Specific exceptions to disclosure are listed in sections 6253.5-6253.7, 6254, 6254.1-6254.21, 6255, 6267 and 6276; however, to ensure maximum access by the public, these exceptions are read narrowly. The agency bears the burden of justifying nondisclosure, and “any reasonably segregable portion… shall be provided…after deletion of the portions which are exempt” (Section 6253(a)).
What are SASD’s Public Records?
The Public Records Act applies to the records of SASD and all divisions, boards, and commissions created by SASD’s Board of Directors.
Who can request Public Records?
Anyone can make a request to inspect or obtain a copy of a public record. A requester is not required to provide any personal identification or reason for the request.
What can and cannot be requested?
Generally, all SASD records are available to the public unless they are statutorily exempt from disclosure. California Government Code section 6254 provides a partial list of records that may be exempt from disclosure. Some of the types of records that are potentially exempt include:
Personnel records, medical records and similar files which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy if publicly disclosed
Records pertaining to pending litigation to which a public agency is a party
Preliminary drafts, notes and memoranda;
Records of complaints to or investigations conducted by a police agency
Records covered by the attorney-client privilege
Examination data used to administer a licensing, employment or academic examination
Criminal history information
In addition to the express exemptions from disclosure, the Public Records Act contains a “catch-all” exemption that permits a public agency to withhold its records from inspection when “the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.” Also, in addition to those exemptions contained in the Act itself, there are hundreds of statutory exemptions and other independent bases for confidentiality.
How can I request SASD records?
The easiest way to request records is using our online request form:
Please include all of the information that is requested on the online form in order to expedite your request. Make your request as specific as possible about the records you are seeking (e.g., a date range for the records you are requesting, the department or staff that created the requested records, and/or any helpful keywords.)
You may also indicate whether you would simply like to inspect the records or have copies made, which involves paying for the cost of copying (see “Are there any costs associated with records requests?” below).
When can I expect a response?
Upon a request for records, in most instances, SASD has 10 days to notify you as to whether responsive documents exist, and to identify how long it will take to compile those documents. SASD will make every reasonable effort to respond sooner and to make the records promptly available upon the payment of any applicable fees. The actual time to receive documents can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the request.
If SASD receives a request for records that it does not possess, it will notify you that it has no responsive records and, if it can do so, will forward the request to the appropriate agency that may possess the requested records.
What happens when the requested records are ready?
After you receive a response from SASD concerning the availability of the requested records, you can arrange to inspect the records or have them copied:
Inspection. If you wish to inspect the records and have provided contact information, a representative will contact you to make an appointment to inspect the records. If you have not provided SASD with contact information, you will need to call or return to SASD to arrange for inspection of the records. There is no fee associated with inspecting public records.
Copies. If you wish to obtain copies of records and have provided contact information, an SASD representative will contact you with a time and cost estimate for producing the requested records. You may, upon payment of applicable fees (see below), pick up the records when they become available or have them mailed to you. If you have not provided SASD with contact information, you will need to call or return to SASD to arrange for copying and pick-up of the records.
Are there any costs associated with records requests?
Under the Public Records Act, SASD is entitled to be reimbursed by the requestor for the direct costs of duplication. SASD has, however, made a determination not to charge the requestor for the first 10 pages. If a PRA request calls for the production of records in excess of 10 pages, then the requester shall be required to pay 10 cents per page for each additional page, which shall be reimbursement of SASD’s direct costs for duplication.
This form should be used to request California public records that are made available pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250). SASD prefers that requests be submitted electronically using this form; however, requests may be submitted by letter or email (see How Can I Request SASD Records?). If an alternate method is used, the information requested on this form should be included in the request.
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