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* Index 3/22/96, 7/26/96, 9/27/96, 11/15/96, 3/21/97, 5/23/97, 8/1/97, 9/26/97, 11/14/97, 1/23/98, 1/26/99, 5/20/99, 1/24/02, 3/21/03, 5/28/03, 11/21/03, 1/30/04, 3/26/04, 11/19/04, 5/25/05, 11/18/05, 1/27/06, 1/26/07, 6/4/08, 4/3/09, 11/20/09, 1/31/14, 10/3/14, 11/21/14
GA ACCESS TO PROGRAMS, SERVICES, AND ACTIVITIES Amended 4/3/09
GB PUBLIC INFORMATION PROGRAM Amended 5/25/05
GBA PUBLIC INFORMATION PROGRAM: ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION Amended 11/20/09
GBAA INFORMATION ACCESS: REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION Adopted 1/26/07
GBAA-E PUBLIC INFORMATION PROGRAM: ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION Amended 11/18/05
GBBA PUBLIC INFORMATION PROGRAM: NEWS MEDIA RELATIONS Reviewed 3/21/03
GE RELATIONS WITH PARENT ORGANIZATIONS Amended 3/21/03
GF PUBLIC COMPLAINTS Amended 11/21/14
GF-E COMPLAINT: MEMBER OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC Adopted 10/3/14
GKA COMMUNITY RELATIONS: CONDUCT ON SCHOOL PREMISES Amended 1/31/14
GKB COMMUNITY RELATIONS: ADVERTISING AND FUND RAISIG IN THE SCHOOLS Reviewed 1/27/06
GKC VISITORS TO THE SCHOOL Amended1/30/04
GKD COMMUNITY RELATIONS: USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES Amended 5/25/05
GKDA NONSCHOOL USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES: DISTRIBUTION OF NONSCHOOL LITERATURE Adopted 5/25/05
GKG COMMUNITY RELATIONS: SCHOOL VOLUNTEER PROGRAM Amended 6/4/08
GNA RELATIONS WITH EDUCATIONAL ENTITIES: AFTER-SCHOOL RECREATION PROGRAMS Reviewed 3/26/04
GR RELATIONS WITH GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES Amended 5/28/03
GRA RELATIONS WITH GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES: LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES Amended 5/25/05

 


NONDISCRIMINATION

No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any School program or activity.  42 U. by the School. 42 U.S.C. 12131(2); 28 CFR 35.104

REASONABLE MODIFICATION

The School shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the School can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.

28 CFR 35.130 S.C. 2000d

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of the School, or be subjected to discrimination by the School. Nor shall the School exclude or otherwise deny equal services, programs, or activities to an individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the individual is known to have a relationship or association. 42 U.S.C. 12132; 28 CFR 35.130(g)

DEFINITION

A "qualified individual with a disability" is an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided (b)(7)

COMMUNICATIONS

The School shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. To this end, the School shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity conducted by the School. In determining what type of auxiliary aid or service is necessary, the School shall give primary consideration to the requests of the individual with disabilities.

28 CFR 35.160

AUXILIARY AIDS AND SERVICES

"Auxiliary aids and services" includes (1) qualified interpreters, note takers, transcription services, written materials, assistive listening systems, and other effective methods for making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments, (2) qualified readers, taped texts, audio recordings, Brailled materials, large print materials, or other effective methods for making visually delivered materials available to individuals with visual impairments, (3) acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, and (4) other similar services and actions. 28 CFR 35.104

LIMITS OF REQUIRED MODIFICATION

The School is not required to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens. Any decision that compliance with its responsibility to provide effective communication for individuals with disabilities would fundamentally alter the service, program, or activity or unduly burden the School shall be made by the Board after considering all resources available for use in funding and operating the program, service, or activity. The decision shall be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. 28 CFR 35.164

NOTICE

The School shall make available to applicants, participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons information regarding the provisions of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its applicability to the services, programs, or activities of the School. The information shall be made available in such manner as the Board and Superintendent find necessary to apprise such persons of the protections against discrimination assured them by the ADA. 28 CFR 35.106

COMPLIANCE COORDINATOR

The Superintendent shall coordinate the School's efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title II of the ADA, including any investigation of any complaint communicated to it alleging its noncompliance or alleging any actions that would be prohibited under the ADA. The School shall make available to all interested individuals the name, office address, and telephone number of the employee(s) so designated and shall adopt and publish procedures for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action that would be prohibited under the ADA. 28 CFR 35.107 (See DAA and GF)

The School designates the following person to coordinate all its efforts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act:

NAME:  William Daugherty
OFFICE ADDRESS: 1100 W. 45th Street
OFFICE TELEPHONE: (512) 454-8631

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

The School may not substantially burden a person's free exercise of religion, unless it is acting in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and has used the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.  Civil Practice and Remedies Code 110.003 [See also DAA and FB]

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

It shall be unlawful for the School to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of the individual's refusal to disclose his or her Social Security number.

Exceptions

The above provision does not apply to:

  1. Any disclosure that is required by federal statute. The United States Internal Revenue Code provides that the Social Security number issued to an individual for purposes of federal income tax laws shall be used as the identifying number for taxpayers;
  2. Any disclosure, if such disclosure was required under statute or regulation adopted before January 1, 1975 to verify the identity of an individual; or
  3. Any use for the purposes of establishing the identity of individuals affected by any tax, general public assistance, driver's license, or motor vehicle registration law within the School's jurisdiction.

If the School requests that an individual disclose the individual's Social Security number, the School shall inform that individual whether the disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it.

5 U.S.C. 552a Note; PL 93-579, § 7, 88 Stat. 1896 (1974)

Adopted: 1/29/93
Amended: 3/22/96, 3/21/03, 4/3/09
Reviewed: 5/23/97

PEST CONTROL INFORMATION

At the time a student is registered, School personnel shall inform parents, guardians, or managing conservators that the School periodically applies pesticides indoors and that information on the application of pesticides is available on request.

Occupations Code 1951.455

Adopted: 3/12/82

Amended: 1/29/93, 3/22/96, 5/25/05

Reviewed:

PUBLIC INFORMATION

"Public information" means information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law, or ordinance, or in connection with the transaction of official business by the Board, or for the Board and to which the Board has a right of access. Govt. Code 552.002(a)

AVAILABILITY

Public information is available, at a minimum, to the public during the School's normal business hours.  Gov't Code 552.021

Unless they are expressly confidential under other law, categories of public information that are not excepted from required disclosure under this policy include:

  1. A completed report, audit, evaluation, or investigation made of, for, or by, the Board except as provided in Government Code 552.108.
  2. The name, sex, ethnicity, salary, title, and dates of employment of each employee and officer of the School.
  3. Information in any account, voucher, or contract relating to the receipt, or expenditure, of public funds.
  4. The names of each official and the final record of voting on all proceedings of the Board.
  5. All working papers, research material, and information used to estimate the need, or expenditure, of public funds, or taxes, by the Board, on completion of the estimate.
  6. A description of the School's organization and where, from whom, and how the public may obtain information, submit information or requests, or obtain decisions.
  7. A statement of the general course and method by which the School's functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal policies and procedures.
  8. A rule of procedure, descriptions of forms available, or the places where forms may be obtained, and instructions relating to the scope and content of all papers, reports, or examinations.
  9. A substantive rule of general applicability adopted by the Board, and a statement of general policy, or interpretation of general applicability formulated and adopted by the Board.
  10. Any amendment, revision, or repeal of the information described in items 6-9.
  11. Final opinions and orders issued in adjudication of cases.
  12. A policy statement, or interpretation, adopted by the Board.
  13. Administrative manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public.
  14. Information regarded as open to the public under the School's policies.
  15. Information that is in a bill for attorney's fees and that is not privileged under the attorney-client privilege, or confidential under other law.
  16. Information that is also contained in a public court record.
  17. A settlement agreement to which the Board is a party.

A court in this state may not order the Board or the School's officer of public information to withhold from public inspection any category of public information described above or to not produce the information for inspection or duplication, unless the information is expressly made confidential under other law.
Govt. Code 552.022

EMPLOYEE/BOARD MEMBER PERSONAL INFORMATION

Each School employee and Board member, and each former employee and Board member, shall choose whether to allow public access to School-held information relating to the person's home address, telephone number, or social security number, or any other information that reveals whether the person has family members. Employees and officers shall state their choice to the School's Human Resources Director not later than the 14th day after employment begins, or appointment to the Board occurs, or service with the School ends. If an employee, or officer, fails to state his, or her, choice within 14 days, the information is available to the public. However, Board member, or employee, may make a written request at any time to the Human Resources Director to open, or close, the information relating to the person's home address, telephone number, social security number, or any other information that reveals whether the person has family members.
Govt. Code 552.024

EVALUATIONS

A document evaluating the performance of a teacher or administrator is confidential.
Education Code 21.355

CREDIT CARD, DEBIT CARD, CHARGE CARD, AND ACCESS DEVICE NUMBERS

A credit card, debit card, charge card, or access device number that is collected, assembled, or maintained by or for the School is confidential.

"Access device" means a card, plate, code, account number, personal identification number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier or means of account access that alone or in conjunction with another device may be used to:

  1. Obtain money, goods, services, or another thing of value; or
  2. Initiate a transfer of funds other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument.

Gov't Code 552.136

E-MAIL ADDRESSES

Confidential

An e-mail address of a member of the public that is provided for the purpose of communicating electronically with the School is confidential and not subject to disclosure unless the member of the public affirmatively consents to its release.

Exceptions

This confidentiality does not apply to an e-mail address:

  1. Provided to the School by a person who has a contractual relationship with the School or by the contractor's agent;
  2. Provided to the School by a vendor who seeks to contract with the School or by the vendor's agent;
  3. Contained in a response to a request for bids or proposals, contained in a response to similar invitations soliciting offers or information relating to a potential contract, or provided to the School in the course of negotiating the terms of a contract or potential contract; or
  4. Provided to the School on a letterhead, coversheet, printed document, or other document made available to the public.

The School may also disclose an e-mail address for any reason to another governmental body or to a federal agency.
Gov't Code 552.137

INFORMATION EXCEPTED FROM PUBLIC DISCLOSURE

The Board or the School's officer for public information voluntarily may make part or all of its records available to the public, unless the disclosure is expressly prohibited by law or the records are confidential by law.  Gov't Code 552.007

Categories of information that are not required to be disclosed to the public include:

  1. Information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional,
  2. Information in a personnel file, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, and transcripts from institutions of higher education maintained in files of professional employees; however, the degree obtained and the curriculum on the transcripts shall be subject to disclosure. Govt. Code 552.102
  3. Information in the custody of the School that relates to an employee or officer of the School if, under the specific circumstances pertaining to the employee or officer, disclosure of the information would subject the employee or officer to a substantial threat of physical harm.        Govt. Code 552.151
  4. Information relating to litigation of a civil, or criminal, nature, or settlement negotiations to which the School is, or may be, a party, or to which an officer, or employee of the School, as a consequence of the office or employment, is, or may be, a party, that the Attorney General or the respective attorneys have determined should be withheld from public inspection.Govt. Code 552.103
  5. Information that, if released, would give advantage to competitors, or bidders. Govt. Code 552.104
  6. Information pertaining to the location of real, or personal, property for public purpose prior to public announcement of the project, or information pertaining to appraisals, or purchase price, of real, or personal, property for a public purpose prior to the formal award of contracts for the property Govt. Code 552.105
  7. Drafts and working papers involved in the preparation of proposed legislation. Govt. Code 552.106
  8. Information the School's attorney is prohibited from disclosing because of a duty to the School under the Texas Rules of Civil Evidence, the Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence, or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, or information that a court order has prohibited from disclosure. Govt. Code 552.107
  9. Information collected to comply with Education Code Chapter 22, Subchapter C (criminal records), including the person’s name, address, phone number, social security number, driver’s license number, other identification number, and fingerprint records.       Education Code 22.08391
  10. Criminal history record information obtained by the School from the Texas Department of Public Safety.  Govt. Code 411.097(d)(2)
  11. Under certain circumstances, information (except basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime) held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor, including:
    1. Information that deals with detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime; and
    2. An internal record or notation that is maintained for internal use in matters relating to law enforcement or prosecution.
    Gov't Code 552.108
  12. Private correspondence and communications of an elected office holder relating to matters the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of privacy. Govt. Code 552.109
  13. A trade secret obtained from a person and privileged or confidential by statute or judicial decision.  Gov't Code 552.110(a)
  14. Commercial or financial information for which it is demonstrated based on specific factual evidence that disclosure would cause substantial competitive harm to the person from whom the information was obtained.  Gov't Code 552.110(b)
  15. Interagency, or intra-agency, memoranda, or letters that would not be available by law to a party in litigation with the School. Govt. Code 552.109
  16. An audit working paper of an audit of the School’s auditor, including any audit relating to the criminal history background check of a school employee.  If information in an audit working paper is also maintained in another record, that other record is not exempted. Govt.  Code 552.116
  17. Student records, except to School personnel, the student, or the student's parents, guardians, or spouse. The School is not required to release student records, except in conformity with FERPA. Govt. Code 552.114, 552.026 (See also FL)
  18. Information that relates to the home address, home telephone number, or social security number of the following persons, or that reveals whether the person has family members:
    1. A current or former School employee or Board member, except as provided by Section 552.024; or
    2. A peace officer or a security officer commissioned by the Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies, regardless of whether the officer complies with Section 552.1175.
    Gov't Code 552.1217
  19. A photograph that depicts a peace officer, the release of which would endanger the life or physical safety of the officer, unless:
    1. The officer is under indictment or charged with an offense by information;
    2. The officer is a party in a fire or police civil service hearing or a case in arbitration; or
    3. The photograph is introduced as evidence in a judicial proceeding. If a photograph is exempt from public disclosure as described above, it may be made public only if the officer gives written consent.
    Gov't Code 552.119
  20. Test items developed by the School. Govt. Code 552.122
  21. The certified agenda, or tape recording, of a closed meeting, unless a court order makes it available for public inspection and copying. Govt. Code 551.104(c)
  22. Records of a school library, or library system, that identify, or serve to identify, a person who requested, obtained, or used, a library material or service, unless the records are disclosed:
    1. Because the library determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary for the operation of the library and the records are not confidential under other state, or federal, law;
    2. To a person with a special right of access under Government Code 522.023; or
    3. To a law enforcement agency, or prosecutor, under a court order, or subpoena.
    Govt. Code 552.124
  23. The name of an applicant for Superintendent, except the Board must give public notice of the name or names of the finalists being considered for the position at least 21 days before the date of the meeting at which final action or a vote is to be taken on the applicant's employment. Gov't Code 552.126 (See BJB)
  24. Motor vehicle record information that relates to:
    1. A motor vehicle operator's or driver's license or permit issued by an agency of this state;
    2. A motor vehicle title or registration issued by an agency of this state; or
    3. A personal identification document issued by an agency of this state or a local agency authorized to issue an identification document.
    The motor vehicle information described above may be released only in accordance with Transportation Code Chapter 730.
  25. An informer's name or information that would substantially reveal the identity of an informer, unless:
    1. The informer or the informer's spouse consents to disclosure of the informer's name.
    2. The informer planned, initiated, or participated in the possible violation. "Informer" means a student or former student or an employee or former employee of the School who has furnished a report of another person's possible violation of criminal, civil, or regulatory law to the School or the proper regulatory enforcement authority.
    Gov't Code 552.135
  26. Information in a commercial book, or publication, purchased, or acquired, by the School for research purposes, if the book, or publication, is commercially available to the public. The School is not required to make copies of commercially available information, but the School shall allow the inspection of information in a book, or publication, that is made part of, incorporated into, or referred to, in a rule, or policy, of the School. Govt. Code 552.027 The requirement of Government Code 552.022 that a category of information listed under 552.022(a) is public information and not excepted from required disclosure unless expressly confidential under law does not apply; to information that is excepted from required disclosure under this paragraph. Govt. Code 552.007
  27. Information that relates to economic development negotiations involving the Board and a business prospect that the Board seeks to have locate, stay, or expand in or near the School, if that information relates to:
    1. A trade secret of the business prospect; or
    2. Commercial or financial information for which it is demonstrated based on specific factual evidence that disclosure would cause substantial competitive harm to the person from whom the information was obtained.
  28. Unless and until an agreement is made with the business prospect, information about a financial or other incentive being offered to a business prospect by the Board or by another person. After an agreement is made, information about a financial or other incentive being offered is no longer exempted from public disclosure if the information is about a financial or other incentive being offered to the business prospect:
    1. By the Board; or
    2. By another person, if the financial or other incentive may directly or indirectly result in the expenditure of public funds by the School or a reduction in revenue received by the School from any source.
    Gov't Code 552.131
  29. Information that relates to computer network security or to the design, operation, or defense of a computer network. The following information is confidential:
    1. A computer network vulnerability report; and
    2. Any other assessment of the extent to which data processing operations, a computer, or a computer program, network, system, or software of the School or of a contractor of the School is vulnerable to unauthorized access or harm, including an assessment of the extent to which a district's or contractor's electronically stored information is vulnerable to alteration, damage, or erasure.
    Gov't Code 552.136

MILITARY DISCHARGE RECORDS

  1. A military veteran's Department of Defense Form DD-214 or other military discharge record that first comes into the possession of the School on or after September 1, 2003. The record is confidential for the 75 years following the date it comes into the possession of the School in accordance with Government Code Section 552.140. If the School obtains information from the record, the School shall limit the use and disclosure of the information to the purpose for which the information was obtained.

Gov’t Code Code 552.140

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

  1. The Social Security number of a living person. The School may redact the Social Security number of a living person from any information the School discloses to the public without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general. Gov't Code 552.147

INVESTMENT INFORMATION

  1. Certain School investment information, as specified by Government Code 552.143, is not public information and is excepted from disclosure. Gov't Code 552.143

Adopted:          5/8/81
Amended:        3/12/82, 10/25/85, 3/10/88, 9/27/90, 1/29/93, 11/18/94, 9/27/96, 1/24/02, 5/28/03, 5/25/04, 5/25/05, 1/26/07, 11/20/09
Reviewed:        1/26/99


 

OFFICER FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION

A superintendent shall be the School's officer for public information. Each department head shall be an agent of the officer for public information for the purposes of complying with the public information laws and the School's policy on public records. The officer for public information shall:

  1. Make public information available for public inspection and copying.
  2. Carefully protect public information from deterioration, alteration, mutilation, loss, or unlawful removal.
  3. Repair, renovate, or rebind public information when necessary to maintain it properly.

The officer for public information is responsible for the release of public information as required by Government Code Chapter 552. The officer is not responsible for the use made of the information by the requestor or the release of the information after it is removed from a record.

Gov't Code 552.201-552.204

SIGN

The officer for public information shall prominently display a sign in the form prescribed by the attorney general that contains basic information about the rights of a requestor, the responsibilities of a board, and the procedures for inspecting or obtaining a copy of public information under Government Code Chapter 552. The officer shall display the sign at one or more places in the administrative offices of the School where it is plainly visible to:

  1. Members of the public who request public information in person; and
  2. Employees of the School whose duties include receiving or responding to public information requests.

Gov't Code 552.205

ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION

The School may promulgate reasonable rules of procedure by which public information may be

inspected and copied efficiently, safely, and without delay. These rules may not be inconsistent with any provision of Government Code Chapter 552. Gov't Code 552.230

A superintendent or designee shall promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both, in School offices on application by any person. "Promptly" means as soon as possible under the circumstances, that is, within a reasonable time, without delay.

A superintendent or designee complies with such a request by providing the information for inspection or duplication in the School's offices or by sending copies of the information by first class mail, if the requestor requests that the copies be provided and pays the postage and any other applicable charges that the requestor has accrued under Chapter 552, Subchapter F.

TIME FOR RESPONSE

If the requested information is unavailable because it is in storage or active use, a superintendent or designee shall certify this fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication. If a superintendent or designee cannot produce the public information for inspection or duplication within ten business days after the date the information is requested, the superintendent or designee shall certify that fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication. An original copy of public information shall not be removed from School offices by a requestor.

Gov't Code 552.221, 552.226; Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-664 (2000)

The officer for public information shall not make an inquiry of any requestor, except to establish proper identification or to ask the requestor to clarify the request. If a large amount of information has been requested, the officer may discuss with the requestor how the scope of the request might be narrowed, but the officer may not inquire into the purpose for which the information will be used. All reasonable comfort and facility shall be extended to the requestor. Gov't Code 552.222, 552.224

The officer for public information or the officer's agent shall treat all requests for information uniformly without regard to the position or occupation of the requestor, the person on whose behalf the request is made, or the status of the individual as a member of the media. Gov't Code 552.223

EXAMINATION

A requestor shall complete the examination of the information not later than the tenth business day after the date the officer for public information makes it available. If the requestor does not complete the examination of the information within ten business days after the date the information is made available and does not file a request for additional time, the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the request. The officer shall extend the initial examination period by an additional ten business days if, within the initial period, the requestor files with the officer a written request for additional time. The officer shall permit a second additional ten business day examination period if, within the first additional period, the requestor files with the officer a second written request for time. The time during which a person may examine information may be interrupted by the officer if the information is needed for use by the board.

The period of interruption is not considered to be a part of the time during which the person may examine the information. Gov't Code 552.225

PROVIDING SUITABLE COPY

Specific Medium

The officer for public information shall provide a suitable copy of public information within a reasonable time after the date on which the copy is requested.

If public information exists in an electronic or magnetic medium, the requestor may request a copy either on paper or in an electronic medium, such as on diskette or on magnetic tape. The officer for public information shall provide a copy in the requested medium if the School has the technological ability to produce the information in the requested medium and is not required to purchase any software or hardware to accommodate the request, and providing the copy will not violate any copyright agreement between the School and a third party.

If the officer is unable to comply with a request to produce a copy of information in a requested medium for any of these reasons, the School shall provide either a paper copy or a copy in another medium that is acceptable to the requestor. The officer is not required to copy information onto a diskette or other material provided by the requestor but may use the School's supplies.

Gov't Code 552.228

Requests Requiring Programming Or Manipulation

If the officer determines that responding to a request for information will require programming or manipulation of data and that compliance with the request is not feasible or will result in substantial interference with operations or the information could be made available in the requested form only at a cost that covers the programming and manipulation of data, it shall provide to the requestor a written statement that includes all of the following information:

  1. A statement that the information is not available in the requested form.
  2. A description of the form in which the information is available.
  3. A description of any contract or services that would be required to provide the information in the requested form.
  4. A statement of the estimated cost of providing the information in the requested form, as determined in accordance with the rules established by the attorney general.
  5. A statement of the anticipated time required to provide the information in the requested form.

Response Time When Programming Or Manipulation Is Required

The officer shall provide the written statement to the requestor within 20 days after the date the officer receives the request. The officer has an additional ten days to provide the statement if the officer gives written notice to the requestor within 20 days after receiving the request that additional time is needed.

Further Action

After providing the written statement described above, the officer has no further obligation to provide the information in the requested form or in the form in which it is available, unless within 30 days the requestor writes to the officer stating that the requestor wants the information in the requested form according to the time and cost parameters set out in the officer's statement or that the requestor wants the information in the form in which it is available. If a requestor does not make a timely written response, the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the request for information.

PROCESSING OF REQUESTS

The officer for public information shall establish policies that assure the expeditious and accurate processing of requests for information that require programming or manipulation of data. A board shall maintain a readily accessible file containing all written statements issued concerning requests for information that require programming or manipulation of data.

Gov't Code 552.231

REPETITIOUS OR REDUNDANT REQUESTS

If the officer determines that a requestor has made a request for information for which the School has previously furnished or made copies available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges, the officer shall respond to the request for information for which copies have been already furnished or made available, except that:

  1. The School is not prohibited from furnishing the information or making the information available to the requestor again in accordance with the request; and
  2. The School is not required to comply with the procedures described below in relation to information that the School simply furnishes or makes available to the requestor again in accordance with the request.

Information for which the School has not previously furnished copies or made copies available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges, information that was redacted from information provided earlier, or that did not exist at the time of an earlier request, shall be treated in the same manner as any other request.

PROCEDURES

The officer shall, free of charge, certify to the requestor that copies of all or part of the requested information were previously furnished or made available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges. The certification must include:

  1. A description of the information for which copies have been previously furnished or made available to the requestor.
  2. The date that the School received the requestor's original request for that information.
  3. The date that the School previously furnished copies of or made available copies of the information to the requestor.
  4. A certification that no subsequent additions, deletions, or corrections have been made to that information; and
  5. The name, title, and signature of the officer for public information or the officer's agent making the certification.

Gov't Code 552.232

ATTORNEY GENERAL DECISIONS

If the School receives a written request, including a request that is sent by electronic mail or facsimile transmission if that request is sent to a superintendent or designee, for information it wishes to withhold from public disclosure and that it considers to be within one of the exceptions to required disclosure, but for which there has been no previous determination that it falls within one of the exceptions, the School, not later than the tenth business day after receiving the written request, shall ask for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within one of the exceptions and state the exception that applies. If a decision from the attorney general is not so requested or the School fails to provide the requestor with the statement and a copy of the School's communications to the attorney general, as described below, the information is presumed to be public information and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it. Gov't Code 552.301(a), (b), (c), 552.302; Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-673 (2000)

The School may not request an open records decision from the attorney general if the School reasonably believes that the requested information is not excepted from required disclosure. The School must promptly produce the requested information to the requestor. Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-665 (2000)

The School shall release the requested information and may not ask for an attorney general decision if the School has previously requested and received a determination from the attorney general concerning the precise information at issue in a pending request and the attorney general or a court determined that the information is public information that is not within one of the exceptions. Gov't Code 552.301(f); Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-673 (2000)

The School must promptly release public information not excepted from required disclosure. The prompt release of information requires release as soon as possible under the circumstances and within a reasonable time, without delay. The School may not automatically withhold for ten business days public information not excepted from diclosure. Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-664 (2000)

Statement To Requestor

If the School requests an attorney general decision, it must provide to the requestor within a reasonable time but not later than the tenth business day after the date of receiving the requestor's written request:

  1. A written statement that the School wishes to withhold the requested information and has asked for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within an exception to public disclosure.
  2. A copy of the School's written communication to the attorney general asking for the decision. If the School's written communication to the attorney general discloses the requested information, the School shall provide a redacted copy of that written communication to the requestor.

Gov't Code 552.301(d)

Submission To Attorney General

When the School requests a decision, it shall, within a reasonable time but not later than the15th business day after the date of receiving the request for information, submit to the attorney general all of the following:

  1. Written comments stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply that would allow the information to be withheld.
  2. A copy of the written request for information.
  3. A signed statement as to the date on which the written request for information was received by the School or evidence sufficient to establish that date.
  4. A copy of the specific information requested, or representative samples of the information, if a voluminous amount of information was requested. These copies must be labeled to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the copy.

Unless the information is confidential by law, the officer may disclose the requested information to the public or the requestor before a final determination that the information is public has been made by the attorney general or a court with jurisdiction.

Additional Information

If the attorney general determines that additional information is necessary to render a decision, the attorney general shall give the School and the requestor written notice of that fact. Upon receipt of such notice, the officer shall submit the necessary additional information to the attorney general not later than the seventh calendar day after the date the notice is received. If the officer does not comply with the attorney general's request for additional information, the information is presumed to be subject to required public disclosure and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold the information.

Gov't Code 552.301(d), (e), 552.303

When submitting written comments to the attorney general stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply, the School shall send a copy of those comments to the person who requested the information from the School. If the written comments disclose or contain the substance of the information requested, the copy of the comments provided to the requestor must be a redacted copy. Gov't Code 552.301(e-1)

Special Interests

In a case in which information is requested and a person's privacy or property interests may be involved, including a case under Government Code 552.101, 552.104, and 552.114 (see pages 2-3 of this policy), the School may decline to release the information for the purpose of requesting a decision from the attorney general. The School may, but is not required to, submit its reasons why the information should be withheld or released.

Notice To Owner Of Proprietary Information

If release of a person's proprietary information may be subject to exception under Government Code 552.101, 552.110, 552.113, or 552.131, and the School requests an attorney general decision, the School shall make a good faith attempt to notify that person of its request for the attorney general decision. The notice must include a copy of any written request the School received for the information and a statement, in the form prescribed by the attorney general, that the person is entitled to submit to the attorney general, not later than the tenth business day after the person receives the notice, a written statement of the reason(s) why the information should be withheld and a letter, memorandum, or brief supporting the reason(s).

Gov't Code 552.305

COSTS AND CHARGES

The charge for providing a copy of public information shall be an amount that reasonably includes all costs related to reproducing the public information, including costs of materials, labor, and overhead. If a request is for 50 or fewer pages of paper records, the charge for providing the copy of the public information may not include costs of materials, labor, or overhead, but shall be limited to the charge for each page of the paper record that is photocopied, unless the pages to be photocopied are located in two or more separate buildings that are not connected with each other or a remote storage facility. If the charge for providing a copy of public information includes costs of labor, the requestor may require the officer or the officer's agent to provide the requestor with a written statement as to the amount of time that was required to produce and provide the copy. The statement must be signed by the officer or the officer's agent, and the officer or the officer's name must be typed or legibly printed below the signature. A charge may not be imposed for providing the written statement to the requestor. The School shall also charge for the cost of materials, labor, and overhead when the request is for any number of copies of information that is not readily available. Charges for providing a copy of public information are considered to accrue at the time the governmental body advises the requestor that the copy is available on payment of the applicable charges. Gov't Code 552.261

The School shall use the attorney general's rules to determine the charges for providing copies of public information and to determine the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection, except to the extent that other law provides for charges for specific kinds of public information. The charges for providing copies of public information may not be excessive and may not exceed the actual cost of producing the information or for making public information that exists in a paper record available. The School may determine its own charges for producing public information and its own charge, deposit, or bond for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection, but may not charge an amount that is greater than 25 percent more than the amount established by the attorney general, unless it requests an exemption. Gov't Code 552.261, 552.262; 1 TAC 111.61(b)

Exemptions

The School may request that it be exempt from part or all of the rules adopted by the attorney general for determining charges for providing copies of public information or the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection. The request must be made in writing to the attorney general and must state the reason for the exemption. If the attorney general determines that good cause exists, the attorney general shall grant the exemption by giving written notice of the determination within 90 days of the request. When it receives the notification, the School may amend its charges for providing copies of public information or its charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection according to the terms of the attorney general's determination. Gov't Code 552.262(c)

Copies For Parents

The School may charge a reasonable fee in accordance with the above requirements for copies of materials provided to parents pursuant to Education Code Chapter 26. Education Code 26.012

Statement Of Estimated Charges

If a request for a copy of public information or a request to inspect a paper record will result in the imposition of a charge that exceeds $40, the School shall provide the requestor with a written itemized statement that details all estimated charges that will be imposed, including any allowable charges for labor or personnel costs. If an alternative less costly method of viewing the records is available, the statement must include a notice that the requestor may contact the School regarding the alternative method. The School must inform the requestor of the responsibilities imposed on the requestor by this section and the rights granted by this entire section and give the requestor the information needed to respond as detailed in Government Code 552.2615(a).

If, after the School provides the requestor the itemized statement but before it makes the copy or the paper record available, the School determines that the estimated charges will exceed the charges detailed in the original itemized statement by 20 percent or more, the School shall send to the requestor an updated written itemized statement that details all estimated charges that will be imposed, including any allowable charges for labor or personnel costs.

Requestor's Response

A request for which the School is required to produce an (original or updated) itemized statement of estimated charges is considered to have been withdrawn if the requestor does not respond in writing to the itemized statement by informing the School within ten business days after the date the statement is sent to the requestor that:

  1. The requestor will accept the estimated charges.
  2. The requestor is modifying the request in response to the itemized statement; or
  3. The requestor has sent to the attorney general a complaint alleging that the requestor has been overcharged for being provided with a copy of the public information.

Actual Charges

If the actual charges that School imposes for a copy or inspection of public information exceed $40, the charges may not exceed:

  1. The amount estimated in the updated itemized statement; or
  2. If an updated itemized statement is not sent to the requestor, an amount that exceeds by 20 percent or more the amount estimated in the original itemized statement.

Timing Of Deadlines

An original or updated itemized statement is considered to have been sent by the School, and a requestor is considered to have responded to the statement, on the date that the statement or response is:

  1. Delivered in person;
  2. Deposited, properly addressed, in the U.S. mail; or
  3. Transmitted by electronic mail or facsimile, provided the requestor agrees to receive the statement by those means.

The time deadlines for providing the required statement of estimated charges do not affect the application of a time deadline imposed on the School for requesting a decision by the attorney general under Government Code 552, Subchapter G.

Gov't Code 552.2615

Deposit Or Bond

The officer for public information or his or her agent may require a deposit or bond for payment of anticipated costs for the preparation of a copy of public information if the officer for public information or the officer's agent has provided the requestor with the required written itemized statement detailing the estimated charge for providing the copy and if the charge for providing the copy of the public information specifically requested by the requestor is estimated by the School to exceed $100. The officer for public information or the officer's agent may not require a deposit or bond be paid as a down payment for copies of future information that the requestor may request in the future. Gov't Code 552.263(a), (b); 1 TAC 111.67(d)

The officer for public information or the officer's agent may require a deposit or bond for payment of unpaid amounts the requestor owes the School in relation to previous public information requests before preparing a copy of public information in response to a new request if those unpaid amounts exceed $100. The officer for public information or the officer's agent may not seek payment of those unpaid amounts through any other means. Gov't Code 552.263(c)

The School must fully document the existence and amount of those unpaid amounts or the amount of any anticipated costs before requiring a deposit or bond under this section. The documentation is subject to required public disclosure. Gov't Code 552.263(d)

For the purposes of charging for providing copies of public information or for requesting an attorney general's opinion, if the School requires a deposit or bond from the requestor, a request for a copy of public information is considered to have been received by the School on the date it receives the deposit or bond for payment of anticipated costs or unpaid amounts. A requestor who fails to make such a deposit or post such a bond before the tenth day after the date the deposit or bond is required is considered to have withdrawn the request. Gov't Code 552.263(e), (f)

Waivers

If the cost to the School of processing the collection of a charge for providing a copy of public information will exceed the amount of the charge, the Superintendent may waive the charge. If the Superintendent determines that waiver or reduction of the charge is in the public interest because providing the copy of the information primarily benefits the general public, the Superintendent may waive or reduce the charge for a copy of public information. Gov't Code 552.267

Government Publication

The cost provisions described above do not apply to a publication that is compiled and printed by or for the School for public dissemination. If the cost of the publication is not determined by state law, the

School may determine the charge for providing the publication, or it may provide the publication free of charge, if state law does not require a certain charge. Gov't Code 552.270

INSPECTION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION

If the requestor does not request a copy of public information, the School may not impose a charge for making available for inspection any public information that exists in a paper record. If a page contains confidential information that must be edited from the record before the information can be made available for inspection, however, the School may charge for the cost of making a photocopy of the page from which the confidential information must be edited. No charge other than the cost of the photocopy may be imposed. Gov't Code 552.271(a), (b)

PAYMENT, OR DEPOSIT OR BOND

The officer for public information or the officer's agent may require a requestor to pay, or to make a deposit or post a bond for the payment of, anticipated personnel costs for making available for inspection public information that exists in paper records only if:

  1. The public information specifically requested by the requestor is older than five years or completely fills, or when assembled will completely fill, six or more archival boxes; and
  2. The officer for public information or the officer's agent estimates that more than five hours will be required to make the public information available for inspection.

Gov't Code 552.271(c)

ELECTRONIC RECORDS

If the School receives a request to inspect information that exists in an electronic medium and the information is not available directly on-line to the requestor, a charge may not be imposed for access to the information unless complying with the request will require programming or manipulation of data. If programming or manipulation of data is required, the Superintendent shall notify the requestor before assembling the information and provide the requestor with an estimate of charges that will be imposed.

If public information exists in an electronic form on a computer owned or leased by the School, and the public has access to that information through a computer network or other means, the electronic form of the information may be electronically copied from that computer without charge if accessing the information does not require processing, programming, or manipulation on the School's computer before the information is copied. If such information does require processing, programming, or manipulation before it can be copied, the Superintendent may impose charges.

If the School creates or keeps information in an electronic form, it is encouraged to explore options to separate confidential information from public information and make the public information available to the public through electronic access through a computer network or other means.

Gov't Code 552.272

PRESERVATION OF RECORDS

The Superintendent shall determine a time for which information that is not currently in use will be preserved, subject to any applicable rule or law governing the destruction and other disposition of local government records or public information. Gov't Code 552.004

The Board shall preserve the certified agenda or tape recording of a closed meeting for at least two years after the date of the meeting. If an action involving the meeting is brought within that period, the certified agenda or tape recording shall be preserved while the action is pending. Gov't Code 551.104(a)

FILING SUIT TO WITHHOLD INFORMATION

A board or officer for public information may, within the time lines provided for in Government Code 552.324(b) and 552.353(b)(3), file suit seeking to withhold information, but the requestor may not be named as a party to that action. A board or officer for public information must demonstrate to the court that the board or officer made a timely good faith effort to inform the requestor, by certified mail or other method of written notice that requires the return of a receipt, of:

  1. The existence of the suit, including the subject matter, the cause number, and the court in which the suit is filed.
  2. The requestor's right to intervene in the suit or to choose not to participate.
  3. The fact that the suit is against the attorney general.
  4. The address and phone number of the office of the attorney general.

Gov't Code 552.324, 552.325

PARENT'S REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

If the School seeks to withhold information from a parent who has requested public information relating to the parent's child under Chapter 552, Government Code, and files suit as described by Government Code 552.324 to challenge a decision by the attorney general, the School must bring the suit not later than the 30th calendar day after the date the School receives the decision of the attorney general.

A court shall grant such a suit precedence over other pending matters to ensure prompt resolution of the subject matter of the suit. Notwithstanding any other law, the School may not appeal the decision of a court in such a suit challenging a ruling of the attorney general. This prohibition does not affect the right of a parent to appeal the decision. If the School does not bring suit within the period established, the School shall comply with the decision of the attorney general.

If the School receives a request from a parent for public information relating to the parent's child, the School shall comply with Chapter 552, Government Code. If an earlier deadline for bringing suit is established under Chapter 552, Government Code, this rule does not apply.

Education Code 26.0085

FAILURE TO RAISE EXCEPTIONS BEFORE ATTORNEY GENERAL

If the School files suit seeking to withhold information, the School may raise only those exceptions to required disclosure that the School properly raised before the attorney general in connection with a request for a decision by the attorney general, unless the exceptions raised by the School in its suit seeking to withhold information are required by federal law or involve property or privacy interests of another person. Gov't Code 552.326

Adopted: 1/26/07

Amended:

Reviewed:

GUIDELINES FOR COPY CHARGES

The charges in this exhibit, to recover costs associated with providing copies of public information, are based on estimated average costs to governmental bodies across the state.

Copy charges are as follows:

  1. Standard-paper copy. The charge for standard-paper copies reproduced by means of an office machine copier or a computer printer is $.10 per page or part of a page. Each side that has recorded information is considered a page.
  2. Nonstandard-size copy. The charges for nonstandard copies are:
    1. Diskette - $1.00
    2. Magnetic tape - actual cost
    3. Data cartridge - actual cost
    4. Tape cartridge - actual cost
    5. Rewritable CD (CD-RW) - $1.00
    6. Non-rewritable CD (CD-R) - $1.00
    7. Digital video disc (DVD) - $3.00
    8. JAZ drive - actual cost
    9. Other electronic media - actual cost
    10. VHS video cassette - $2.50
    11. Audio cassette - $1.00
    12. Oversize paper copy (e.g., 11" x 17", greenbar, bluebar, not including maps and photographs using specialty paper) - $.50
    13. Specialty paper (e.g., Mylar, blueprint, blueline, map, photographic) - actual cost

Personnel charges are as follows:

  1. If a particular request requires the services of a programmer in order to execute an existing program or to create a new program so that requested information may be accessed and copied, a district may charge for the programmer's time. The hourly charge for a programmer is $28.50 an hour, which includes fringe benefits. Only programming services will be charged at this hourly rate. Districts that do not have in-house programming capabilities will comply with requests in accordance with Government Code 552.231. [See CQ]
  2. The charge for labor costs incurred in processing a request for public information is $15.00 an hour, which includes fringe benefits. The labor charge includes the actual time to locate, compile, and reproduce the requested information.
  3. 3. A labor charge will not be billed in connection with complying with requests that are for 50 or fewer pages of paper records, unless the documents to be copied are located in two or more separate buildings that are not physically connected to each other or a remote storage facility. For purposes of this provision, two buildings connected by a covered or open sidewalk, an elevated or underground passageway, or a similar facility, are not considered to be separate buildings.
  4. A labor charge should not be recovered for any time spent by an attorney, legal assistant, or any other person who reviews the requested information:
    1. To determine whether a district will raise any exceptions to disclosure of the requested information under Government Code, Subchapter C, Chapter 552; or
    2. To research or prepare a request for a ruling by the attorney general's office pursuant to section 552.301 of Government Code. [See CQ]
  5. When confidential information pursuant to a mandatory exception of the Act is mixed with public information in the same page, a labor charge may be recovered for time spent to redact, blackout, or otherwise obscure confidential information in order to release the public information. A labor charge will not be made for redacting confidential information for requests of 50 or fewer pages, unless the request also qualifies as a labor charge pursuant to Government Code 552.261(a)(1) or (2).

Overhead charges are as follows:

  1. Whenever any labor charge is applicable to a request, a district may include the charges direct and indirect costs, in addition to the specific labor charge. This overhead charge would cover such costs as depreciation of capital assets, rent, maintenance and repair, utilities, and administrative overhead. If a district chooses to recover such costs, a charge will be made in accordance with the methodology described in item 3 below. Although an exact calculation of costs will vary, the use of a standard charge will avoid complication in calculating such costs and will provide uniformity for charges made statewide.
  2. An overhead charge will not be made for requests for copies of 50 or fewer pages of standard paper records unless the request also qualifies for a labor charge pursuant to Government Code 552.261(a)(1) or (2).
  3. The overhead charge will be computed at 20 percent of the charge made to cover any labor costs associated with a particular request. For example, if one hour of labor is used for a particular request, the formula would be as follows:

    Labor charge for locating, compiling, and reproducing, $15.00 x .20 = $3.00; or programming labor charge, $28.50 x .20 = $5.70. If a request requires one hour of labor charge for locating, compiling, and reproducing information ($15.00 per hour); and one hour of programming labor charge ($28.50 per hour), the combined overhead would be: $15.00 + $28.50 = $43.50 x .20 = $8.70.

Microfiche and microfilm charges are as follows:

  1. If a district already has information that exists on microfiche or microfilm and has copies available for sale or distribution, the charge for a copy must not exceed the cost of its reproduction. If no copies of the requested microfiche or microfilm are available and the information on the fiche or film can be released in its entirety, a district should make a copy of the fiche or film. The charge for a copy must not exceed the cost of reproduction. Districts that do not have in-house capability to reproduce microfiche or microfilm are encouraged to contact the Texas State Library before having the reproduction made commercially.
  2. If only a master copy of information in microform is maintained, the charge is $.10 per page for standard-size paper copies plus any applicable labor and overhead charge for more than 50 copies.

Remote document retrieval charges are as follows:

  1. Due to limited on-site capacity of storage of documents, it is frequently necessary to store information that is not in current use in remote storage locations. Every effort should be made by a district to store current records on-site. To the extent that the retrieval of documents results in a charge to comply with a request, it is permissible to recover costs of such services for requests that qualify for labor charges under current law.
  2. If a district has a contract with a commercial records storage company, whereby the private company charges a fee to locate, retrieve, deliver, and return to storage the needed record(s), no additional labor charge will be factored in for time spent locating documents at the storage location by the private company's personnel. If after delivery to a district, the boxes must still be searched for records that are responsive to the request, a labor charge is allowed in accordance with item 2 under personnel charges, above.

Computer resource charges are as follows:

  1. The computer resource charge is a utilization charge for computers based on the amortized cost of acquisition, lease, operation, and maintenance of computer resources, which might include, but is not limited to, some or all of the following: central processing units (CPUs), servers, disk drives, local area networks (LANs), printers, tape drives, other peripheral devices, communications devices, software, and system utilities.
  2. These computer resource charges are not intended to substitute for cost recovery methodologies or charges made for purposes other than responding to public information requests.
  3. The charges in this section are averages based on a survey of governmental bodies with a broad range of computer capabilities. Each district using this cost recovery charge will determine which category(ies) of computer system(s) used to fulfill the public information request most closely fits its existing system(s) and set its charge accordingly:
    Type of System
    Rate
    Mainframe $10.00 per CPU minute
    Midsize $ 1.50 per CPU minute
    Client/Server $ 2.20 per clock hour
    PC or LAN $ 1.00 per clock hour
  4. The charge made to recover the computer utilization cost is the actual time the computer takes to execute a particular program times the applicable rate. The CPU charge is not meant to apply to programming or printing time; rather, it is solely to recover costs associated with the actual time required by the computer to execute a program. This time, called CPU time, can be read directly from the CPU clock, and most frequently will be a matter of seconds. If programming is required to comply with a particular request, the appropriate charge that may be recovered for programming time is described above, at Personnel Charges. No charge should be made for computer print-out time. For example, if a mainframe computer is used, and the processing time is 20 seconds, the charges would be as follows: $10.00 / 3 = $3.33; or $10.00/(60 / 20) = $3.33.

A district that does not have in-house computer capabilities will comply with requests in accordance with Government Code 552.231. [See CQ]

The actual cost of miscellaneous supplies, such as labels, boxes, and other supplies used to produce the requested information may be added to the total charge for public information.

Governmental bodies may add any related postal or shipping expenses that are necessary to transmit the reproduced information to the requesting party.

Pursuant to Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts' rules, sales tax will not be added on charges for public information. (34 TAC, Part 1, Chapter 3, Subchapter O, Sections 3.341 and 3.342).

1 TAC 111.63; 111.70

Adopted: 9/29/95

Amended: 11/14/97, 5/28/03, 11/18/05

Reviewed: 11/21/03

INITIATING CONTACTS WITH THE NEWS MEDIA

It is the intent of the Board to promote positive interactions with the news media. The Board delegates to the Superintendent or his/her designee the responsibility of initiating contacts with the media to increase the community's knowledge about the mission of the School.

TSBVI staff members shall communicate their ideas for initiating positive contacts with the media to their supervisor, who will forward them to the Superintendent.

RESPONDING TO REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

The Board delegates to the Superintendent or his/her designee the responsibility of responding to requests for information about TSBVI from the news media.

TSBVI staff members shall refer any requests for information from the news media to their supervisor, who will forward them to the Superintendent.

EMERGENCIES ON THE CAMPUS OR AT SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES OFF-CAMPUS

In the case of any type of emergency that may bring news media to the campus of TSBVI or to other locations of school-related activities, staff members shall refer all questions from the news media to the staff member in charge on the scene.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Staff members are not prohibited from communicating with the media in cases in which the staff member only represents his or her opinion, as opposed to acting as, or appearing to act as, the School's representative. However, under no circumstances should any personal information about students be communicated to the news media.

Adopted: 11/15/96

Reviewed: 3/21/03

PARENT-TEACHER ORGANIZATIONS

The Board shall cooperate in the establishment of ongoing operations of at least one parent-teacher organization at the School to promote parental involvement in school activities. Education Code 26.001(e)

Adopted: 7/17/92
Amended: 1/29/93, 3/22/96, 9/26/97, 3/21/03
Reviewed: 11/15/96

PURPOSE OF POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to provide the public an orderly process for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. The Board intends that, whenever feasible, complaints be resolved at the lowest possible administrative level.

UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

The School shall take no action abridging the freedom of speech or the right of the people to petition the board for redress of grievances. U.S. Const. Amend. I, XIV

A board may confine its meetings to specified subject matter and may hold nonpublic sessions to transact business. But when the board sits in public meetings to conduct public business and hear the views of citizens, it may not discriminate between speakers on the basis of the content of their speech or the message it conveys.  Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819, 828 (1995); City of Madison v. Wis. Emp. Rel. Comm'n, 429 U.S. 167, 174 (1976); Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563, 568 (1968)

TEXAS CONSTITUTION

Citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.  Tex. Const. Art. I, Sec. 27

Response to Complaints

There is no requirement that the board negotiate or even respond to complaints. However, the board must stop, look, and listen and must consider the petition, address, or remonstrance.  Professional Association of College Educators v. El Paso County Community [College] District, 678 S.W.2d 94 (Tex. App.-El Paso 1984, writ ref'd n.r.e.)

FEDERAL LAWS

Section 504

The School shall adopt grievance procedures that incorporate appropriate due process standards and that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  29 U.S.C. 794; 34 CFR 104.7(b)

Americans With Disabilities Act

The School shall adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable                                            

resolution of complaints alleging any action that would be prohibited by the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 28, Part 35 (Americans with Disabilities Act regulations).  28 CFR 35.107

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

Informal Process

The Board encourages the public to discuss concerns and complaints through informal conferences with the appropriate administrator.

Concerns should be expressed as soon as possible to allow early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level.

Formal Process

If an informal conference regarding a complaint fails to reach the outcome requested by an individual, he or she may initiate the formal process described below by timely filing a written complaint form.

Even after initiating the formal complaint process, individuals are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their concerns. An individual whose concerns are resolved may withdraw a formal complaint at any time.

The process described in this policy shall not be construed to create new or additional rights beyond those granted by law or Board policy, nor to require a full evidentiary hearing or "mini-trial" at any level.

Freedom From Retaliation

Neither the Board nor any School employee shall unlawfully retaliate against any individual or any individual's child for bringing a concern or complaint.

Application

Except as addressed by Specific Complaints, below, this policy applies to all complaints or grievances from the public.

Specific Complaints

For more information on how to proceed with complaints regarding:

  1. Alleged discrimination, see GA.
  2. Instructional materials, see EFA. 
  3. On-campus distribution of nonschool materials, see GKDA.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, terms are defined as follows:

Complaint/Grievance

The terms "complaint" and "grievance" shall have the same meaning.

Filing

Complaint forms and appeal notices may be filed by hand-delivery, fax, or U.S. Mail. Hand-delivered filings shall be timely filed if received by the appropriate administrator or designee by the close of business on the deadline. Fax filings shall be timely filed if they are received on or before the deadline, as indicated by the date/time shown on the fax copy. Mail filings shall be timely filed if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on the deadline and received by the appropriate administrator or designated representative no more than three days after the deadline.

Days

The definition of "day" means calendar day unless otherwise defined in law or Board policy.

In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by this policy, the day of the aggrieved act, event, or default after which the designated period of time begins to run is not to be included.  The last day of the period is to be included, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.  Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall not be counted for any purpose in any time period of five days or less in this policy (or applicable law).  The day on which a complaint is filed is not to be counted in calculating the designated period of time.  If a complaint is received by mail, the date of the filing is the date of the postmark. 

Texas Rules of Court, Part I, Rule 4

Any extension to the stated timelines in this policy shall be considered by the Superintendent on a case by case basis.

Response

At Levels One and Two, "response" shall mean a written communication to the individual from the appropriate administrator. Responses may be hand-delivered or sent by U.S. Mail to the individual's mailing address of record.  Mailed responses shall be timely if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on the deadline and received by the individual or designated representative no more than three days after the response deadline.

Representative

"Representative" shall mean any person who or organization that is designated by an individual to represent the individual in the complaint process.

The individual may designate a representative through written notice to the School at any level of this process. If the individual designates a representative with fewer than three days' notice to the School  before a scheduled conference or hearing, the School may reschedule the conference or hearing to a later date, if desired, in order to include the School’s counsel.

General Provisions

Complaints arising out of an event or a series of related events shall be addressed in one complaint. An individual shall not bring separate or serial complaints arising from any event or series of events that have been or could have been addressed in a previous complaint.

Untimely Filings

All time limits shall be strictly followed unless modified by mutual written consent.

If a complaint form or appeal notice is not timely filed, the complaint may be dismissed, on written notice to the individual, at any point during the complaint process. The individual may appeal the dismissal by seeking review in writing within ten days, starting at the level at which the complaint was dismissed. Such appeal shall be limited to the issue of timeliness.

Costs Incurred

Each party shall pay its own costs incurred in the course of the complaint.

PROCEDURAL RULES

Filing Grievances

An individual having a complaint shall initiate the complaint process with the Office of the Superintendent within ten days of the time the individual first knew, or should have known, of the event, or series of events, causing the complaint. The Superintendent or designee shall explain the process of bringing the complaint as follows:

INFORMAL PROBLEM SOLVING CONFERENCE

Prior to the time the individual files a Level One Complaint, the complainant and the supervisor(s) shall attempt to resolve the problem informally (here titled the “informal problem solving conference”).

Within five days of initiating the complaint process with the Superintendent’s Office, the complainant shall contact the supervisor in whose area of responsibility the complaint lies and request a conference to attempt to resolve the complaint orally with the supervisor.  The supervisor must schedule the

conference to occur within five days of the complainant’s request for an informal problem solving conference.

The supervisor to whom the complainant brings the complaint shall summarize both the individual’s complaint and the supervisor’s determination in writing and present it to the complainant within five days of the conference.

Complaint Form

Complaints under this policy shall be submitted in writing on a form provided by the School. (See GF-Exhibit). 

Copies of any documents that support the complaint should be attached to the complaint form. If the individual does not have copies of these documents, they may be presented at the Level One conference. After the Level One conference, no new documents may be submitted unless the individual did not know the documents existed before the Level One conference.

A complaint form that is incomplete in any material aspect may be dismissed, but may be refiled with all the requested information if the refiling is within the designated time for filing a complaint.

If the only administrator who has authority to remedy the alleged problem is the Superintendent or designee, the complaint may begin at Level Two following the procedure, including deadlines, for filing the complaint form at Level One.

FORMAL GRIEVANCE

Level One:  Supervisor and/or Higher Level Administrators

If the individual is not satisfied with the results of the informal problem solving conference, a written grievance may be filed. The written grievance must be filed with the Office of the Superintendent within ten days from the time the supervisor notifies the individual in writing of the summary/outcome of the informal problem solving conference.

The written grievance must contain all of the information requested in the grievance form (GF-E). The written grievance must include the administrator’s written response from the informal problem solving conference.

Any grievance that is incomplete when filed shall be returned to the grievant who shall then have five days to refile the grievance. If the grievance is refiled without containing all necessary information, or is incomplete in any material manner, it may be dismissed for such failure.

If the complaint is not filed with the appropriate administrator, the receiving administrator must note the date and time the complaint form was received and immediately forward the complaint form to the appropriate administrator.

The appropriate administrator shall hold a conference with the individual within ten days after receipt of the written complaint.

The administrator shall have ten days following the conference to provide the individual a written response.

Level Two:  Appeal to the Superintendent

If the individual did not receive the relief requested at Level One or if the time for a response has expired, he or she may request a conference with the Superintendent or designee to appeal the Level One decision.

The appeal notice must be filed in writing, on a form provided by the School, within ten days after receipt of a response or, if no response was received, within ten days of the response deadline at Level One. (See GF Exhibit). 

The Superintendent or designee shall hold a conference with the grievant within ten days after the appeal notice is filed. At the conference, the Superintendent or designee shall consider only the issues and documents presented at Level One and identified in the Level Two appeal notice. The Superintendent may, but is not required to, take testimony and accept evidence supporting the grievant or the level one supervisor’s decision(s).  The Superintendent or designee shall have ten days following the conference to provide the individual a written response.

The Superintendent or designee shall deliver a copy of the response to the grievant by either hand, e-mail, or certified mail, return receipt requested

Level Three:  Appeal to the Board

If the individual did not receive the relief requested at Level Two or if the time for a response has expired, he or she may appeal the decision to the Board.

The appeal notice must be filed in writing with the Superintendent's Office, on a form provided by the School, within thirty days after receipt of a response or, if no response was received, within  thirty days of the response deadline at Level Two.  (See GF Exhibit)

Upon receipt of such written notification, the Superintendent, in consultation with the Board President, shall place the grievant’s complaint on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Board meeting for which the deadline for submission of the agenda to the Texas Register in accordance with the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act has not passed, in which case the matter shall be placed on the following regularly scheduled meeting.

The Superintendent or designee shall inform the individual of the date, time, and place of the Board meeting at which the complainant will be on the agenda for presentation to the Board.  Procedures for appeals to the Board as described in this policy shall be provided to the grievant by the Superintendent’s office upon request.

The Superintendent or designee shall provide the Board with copies of the complaint form, all responses, all appeal notices, and all written documentation previously submitted by the individual or

the administration. The Board shall consider only those issues and documents presented at the preceding levels and identified in the appeal notice.

At the regularly scheduled meeting, the Board shall listen to the complaint, but is not required to respond or take any action on the matter.

The Board shall determine whether the complaint will be presented in open or closed meeting in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act and other applicable law. [See BE]

The presiding officer may set reasonable time limits and guidelines for the presentation. The Board shall hear the complaint and may request that the administration provide an explanation for the decisions at the preceding levels.

The Board shall then consider the complaint. The Board may determine that additional information is needed to arrive at a decision. The Board will inform the grievant and the Superintendent as to the information needed, and postpone a decision to the next scheduled or specially called session of the Board.

The Board may give notice of its decision orally or in writing at any time up to and including the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. If for any reason the Board fails to reach a decision regarding the complaint by the end of the next regularly scheduled meeting, the lack of a response by the Board upholds the administrative decision at Level Two.

Announcing a decision in the grievant's presence constitutes communicating the decision.

If the Board does make a decision, the Board shall respond, in writing, within ten (10) days of the Board meeting at which the grievant’s appeal was heard.

There will be no further appeal within the public complaint process of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

APPEAL TO THE COMMISSIONER

A person may appeal the decision of the Board to the Commissioner of Education if the person is aggrieved by an action or decision of the Board that violates the school laws of Texas or violates a provision of a written employment contract between the School and the School employee, if such violation causes or would cause monetary harm to the employee.

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

An appeal of the Board's decision to the Commissioner of Education shall be decided based on a review of the record developed at the Board hearing.  "Record" includes, at a minimum, an audible electronic recording or written transcript of all oral testimony or argument.  Education Code 7.057(c),(f)

In addition to any other record of the Board meeting required by law, the Board shall prepare a separate record of the Level Three presentation.   If the School fails to create and preserve the record without good cause, all substantial evidence issues that require missing portions of the record for resolution shall be deemed against the School. The record shall include:

  1. A tape recording or a transcript of the hearing at the local level. If a tape recording is used:
    1. The tape recording must be complete, audible, and clear; and
    2. Each speaker must be clearly identified.
  2. All evidence admitted;
  3. All offers of proof;
  4. All written pleadings, motions, and intermediate rulings;
  5. A description of matters officially noticed;
  6. If applicable, the decision of the hearing examiner;
  7. A tape recording or transcript of the oral argument before the board; and
  8. The decision of the board.

19 TAC 157.1073(d)

DISRUPTION

It is a criminal offense for a person, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, to substantially obstruct or interfere with the ordinary conduct of a meeting by physical action or verbal utterance and thereby curtail the exercise of others' First Amendment rights.  Penal Code 42.05; Morehead v. State, 807 S.W. 2d 577 (Tex. Cr. App. 1991)

Adopted:          5/25/05

Amended:        1/26/07, 10/3/14, 11/21/14

Reviewed:       

The forms on the following pages are provided to assist the School in processing public complaints.

Download the forms

Exhibit A:         Complaint Form — Level One

Exhibit B:         Response to Level One Grievance

Exhibit C:         Level Two Appeal Notice

Exhibit D:         Response to Level Two Appeal

Exhibit E:         Level Three Appeal Notice

Exhibit F:         Board’s Response to Level Three Appeal