I. REQUEST PROCESSING
All Freedom of Information Act (“the Act”) requests to Detroit Public Schools Community District (“DPSCD” or “District”) shall be submitted for processing to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) Coordinator, Fisher Building, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 1002, Detroit, Michigan 48202 via facsimile at (313) 873-4564 or email at email@example.com
Requests should be as specific as possible and sufficiently describe the information or record to enable the District to identify and locate the record(s). Requestors should provide a phone number, in addition to a return address and email address, so that, if necessary, they can be contacted by the FOIA Coordinator to clarify a request. Requests should be clearly identified as a “Freedom of Information Act Request.” The District provides a downloadable Request for Freedom of Information Form, as well as, an electronic form on its website http://detroitk12.org/admin/gc/.
II. FOIA RESPONSE
Once a written request is submitted to the FOIA Coordinator:
(a) The District has five (5) business days to respond to the request. Requests received by email or facsimile are considered received on the business day following the date of transmission.
(b) If a response cannot be provided within five (5) days, the District shall issue one (1) notice of extension for not more than 10 business days. A response shall be provided within the extension period.
The District shall provide one of the following responses:
(a) Grant the request. Depending on the request, the District will: (i) request a fee; (ii) waive payment; (iii) if fee greater than $50.00, request a good faith deposit; or (iv) produce documents.
(b) Deny the request. In a denial, the District will explain the basis for denial (e.g., a record is exempt, the record does not exist, etc.) and the right to appeal or seek judicial review by circuit court with notification of right to attorney’s fees, costs and possible damages.
(c) Grant the request in part and deny the request in part. In such a response, the District will describe redacted/deleted information.
(d) Refer a requestor to the Dist rict’s website. When applicable (including upon receipt of a verbal request) the District will inform a requestor that requested information is available on the District’s website or inform the requestor of the pertinent website address.
1. If a website address is included in the District’s written response and the requestor still requests that the records be provided in paper format (or another form), the District shall provide the records. However, the District may use a fringe benefit multiplier greater than 50% in its charges for labor costs for production, not to exceed the actual costs of providing the records in the specified format.
(e) Notify a requestor of the 10 business day extension. The notice will identify the reason for the extension and estimated date for the District’s response.
The District’s failure to respond or provide notice of the ten (10) day extension is deemed a denial of the request.
III. ITEMS THE DISTRICT DOES NOT HAVE TO PRODUCE OR RETAIN
Requestors should bear in mind the following regarding the Act:
(a) It is intended to ensure that interested parties may exercise their rights to access existing public records.
(b) There are stipulations and restrictions which exempt certain records from being released.
(c) The District is not required to create reports or materials, compile lists or perform non-routine analysis.
(d) The District is only required to retain documents/records for one (1) year after providing a response.
IV. REVIEW(S) OF RESPONSE REQUIRED BEFORE PROVIDED TO REQUESTOR
The FOIA Coordinator shall inform the Office of Communications and provide copies of all requests received from media outlets.
The FOIA Coordinator shall simultaneously forward the request on the date of receipt to the Office of The General Counsel (“OGC”) for a legal opinion and to the relevant departments for response.
Upon receipt of the response(s) from the Office of Communications, OGC and/or department, the FOIA Coordinator will provide the written response to the requestor.
V. DEPARTMENT PROCESSING OF RESPONSIVE INFORMATION
Upon receipt of a written request, the FOIA Coordinator shall forward the request to the appropriate departments accompanied by a memorandum (the “FOIA Memorandum”).The FOIA Memorandum shall contain instructions for processing along with the dates the request was received and when the department’s response is due. The department shall respond to the FOIA Coordinator within two (2) working days and provide the following information:
(a) Whether the requested records exist;
(b) Whether the department is in possession of the documents;
(c) Whether production of responsive documents will exceed five (5) days;
(d) Whether review and copying of responsive documents will exceed two (2) hours;
(e) Total number of pages or quantity of non-paper media copied for cost estimate;
(f) Total number of hours needed to search/locate, examine and delete and separate exempt from nonexempt materials in increments of 15 minutes;
(g) Position of the lowest paid employee(s) capable of searching/retrieving and copying the information;
(h) Cost of digital copies; and/or
(i) Certification of the department head or designee that the department has done a diligent search of records and have provided all documents in its possession.
Departments should make every effort to provide documents within five (5) days. However, a notice of a 10 business day extension can be issued for reasons, such as: (i) records are at another location; (ii) there is a need to review a large number of records; or (iii) the complexity of the request requires additional time for an adequate response. Documents are to be produced and forwarded, as indicated on the FOIA Memorandum, with cost information, if applicable, within 10 business days. If, due to unusual circumstances, additional time is needed to respond, the department must notify the FOIA Coordinator as soon as possible.
VI. COSTS, FEES AND GOOD FAITH DEPOSITS
Costs & Fees
Per the Act, the District may charge a fee for providing copies of public records. MCL 15.234. Specifically, the District will charge the following fees when it takes more than two (2) hours to fulfill a FOIA request:
(a) Mailing: Current actual cost of first class postage.
1. Cost start at $.10 per page.
2. The District shall use the most economical means for making copies, including using double sided printing, if cost saving and available.
3. The District will provide records using non-paper physical media (e.g., tapes, cd, video, usb drive, etc.) using available technology at the actual and most reasonably economical cost of the media.
(c) Nonpaper/Nonphysical Media
1. Actual costs of tapes, usb drives, etc.
1. Fees will be charged for search, examination, duplication and review for separation and deletion of exempt from non-exempt information.
2. Labor costs will be calculated using the hourly wage (including fifty percent (50%) of any applicable fringe benefits, of the District’s lowest paid employee capable of performing the necessary tasks to process the FOIA request.
3. If specialized knowledge is required to search, examine, review and separate exempt from nonexempt information, then, the labor costs will be calculated using the hourly wage and 50% of fringe benefits of the District’s lowest paid specialist, technical, management or executive class employee capable of performing the necessary tasks. Using the information provided by the department and the FOIA Fee Schedule, the FOIA Coordinator will determine the amount of fees to charge, if any. Wage and benefit information are based on DPSCD Human Resources compensation plans.
4. Fees will also be charged for the labor cost of transferring paper copies to other requested formats.
5. Labor costs will be calculated in 15 minute increments.
6. Contracted labor costs shall not exceed 6 times the state minimum hourly wage.
Also, the District’s FOIA Fee Schedule lists out specific amounts charged. See FOIA Fee Schedule below. The FOIA Fee Schedule will be published, reviewed and updated periodically as necessary. It shall also serve as guidance in cases where charges are unspecified:
Waiver of Fee
Exceptions to the District’s assessment of a fee will be made per section 4(2)(a) of the Act. Also, the District will waive the first $20.00 of fees charged for recipients of public assistance and/or individuals who are indigent.
Individuals who are indigent and/or receiving specific public assistance who are requesting a waiver of the first $20.00 of the fee must submit an affidavit stating that the individual is receiving public assistance or if not receiving public assistance, the facts stating inability to pay the cost because of indigency. The FOIA Fee Waiver Affidavit is available on the District’s website at http://detroitk12.org/admin/gc/docs/FOIA_Fee_Waiver_Affidavit.pdf. The waiver will be granted upon verification of indigence or public assistance status. An individual is ineligible for the waiver if any of the following apply:
(a) The requestor has received the waiver twice during the calendar year.
(b) The requestor is seeking the information in conjunction with other parties who are offering to pay them to make the request.
Reduction of Fee
If the District does not provide its response in a timely manner, labor costs will be reduced by 5% for each day the time permitted is exceeded with a maximum reduction of 50%, if either of the following applies:
a) The late response was willful and intentional.
b) The written request including language within the first 250 words of the body, such as “information” or “FOIA” that conveys a request pursuant to the FOIA.
If a reduction in charge occurs, the reduction shall be detailed on the cost itemization of fees.
Good Faith Deposits
If the fees required to fulfill a request are reasonably expected to exceed $50.00, a good faith deposit of one-half of the total estimated fee is required.
The District will require payment of the fee in full before releasing the requested records if the requestor has an outstanding balance due the District from a prior FOIA request. This 100% pre- payment is required if:
(a) The final fee for the prior request was not more than 105% of the estimated fee;
(b) The records contain the information sought and are still in the District’s possession; (c) The records were made available within the required deadlines;
(d) Ninety (90) days have passed since the individual was notified in writing that the records were available for pickup;
(e) The individual is unable to show proof of prior payment; and
(f) The District calculates an itemized fee with the increased estimated deposit.
The 100% pre-payment will not be required if:
(a) The requestor shows proof of the prior payment;
(b) The requestor pays for the prior request; and
(c) One (1) year has passed since the requestor made the prior request for which no payment was remitted.
VII. DENIALS & APPEALS
A denial of a FOIA request shall be issued in writing.
A written denial will: (i) state the basis under the Act, or other statute for denial (e.g., records are exempt, certify that the record does not exist, etc.); (ii) describe information/records redacted from disclosure where information/records are redacted; and (iii) provide a full explanation of the requestor’s right to seek an appeal or judicial review, including the right to attorney fees.
(a) Appeal of a FOIA Decision
Requestors may appeal the decision to deny a request for information by:
1. Submitting a written appeal to the Superintendent, specifically identifying request as an “Appeal” and providing the reasons why the decision should be reversed; or
2. Seeking judicial review in circuit court.
In response to the appeal, within 10 business days the District will: (i) reverse the denial; (ii) uphold the denial; (iii) reverse in part and uphold in part; or (iv) under unusual circumstances, issue a notice of extension for not more than 10 business days.
A copy of the appeal must be forwarded to the FOIA Coordinator. The OGC may consult with the FOIA Coordinator to prepare the response to the appeal. The requested documents will not be produced until the appeal is resolved.
A failure to respond to the requestor within 10 days or provide notice extending the time period to respond is deemed a denial of the appeal. The District can issue one (1) notice of extension for 10 business days.
(b) Appeal of a FOIA Fee
Requestors may appeal the determination of the fee charged by:
1. Submitting a written appeal to the Superintendent, specifically identifying request as an “Appeal” and how the required fee exceeds the amount permitted under the District’s procedures; or
2. Seeking judicial review in circuit court within 45 days.
In response to the appeal, within 10 business days the District will: (i) waive the fee; (ii) reduce the fee and issue a written determination indicating the specific basis that supports the remaining fee; (iii) uphold the fee and issue a written determination indicating the specific basis that supports the required fee; or (iv) issue a notice of extension for not more than 10 business days.
A copy of the appeal must be forwarded to the FOIA Coordinator. The OGC will consult with the FOIA Coordinator to prepare the response to the appeal. The requested documents will not be produced until the appeal is resolved and applicable fees paid (if any).
A failure to respond to the requestor within ten (10) days or provide notice extending the time period to respond is deemed a denial of the appeal. The District can issue one (1) notice of extension for 10 business days.
Failure to respond to a FOIA request constitutes a denial that may subject the District to liability, damages and costs. District administrators and employees are required to adhere to all FOIA procedures. The FOIA Coordinator will report incidences of department non-compliance and non- responsiveness to the OGC and the Superintendent.
Copy Fees- Duplication per page (each side)
8.5 x 11- $0.10
8.5 x 14- $0.10
11 x 17- $0.30
Outsource Printing- Actual
Disk (Each)- $5.00
USB Drives- Actual
Audio Tapes- Actual
Video Tapes- Actual
Photos- $1.00 each
U.S. First Class Postage Rates- Actual
Oversized Packages- Actual
Overnight Delivery- Actual
Labor Fee Schedule*
General Office-Clerical Series II- $16.69
General Office- Clerical Series III- $22.27
General Office- Technical III- $28.74
Financial Specialist IV- $33.07
Program Associate II- $28.92
Program Supervisor- $48.60
Assistant Director/Director/Dep. Exe. Dir.- $57.58
Executive Director $77.35
Associate General Counsel $83.14
Sr. Executive Director $101.21
Executive Cabinet $108.44
* Rate of lowest paid employee capable of locating and retrieving documents.