Public Records Request Guidelines

Public Records Request Guidelines

Effective January 1, 2017, the Massachusetts Public Records Law, G.L. c.66 and c.4, §7(26) provides that a municipality must, within 10 business days (Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays), respond to a request for records by providing access to or a copy of such records, or explaining any delay or denial. These guidelines are intended to assist members of the public seeking access to public records in the custody of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District. 

 

How to Request a Public Record
Public records requests can be made in person or in writing by mail or email to Beth Petr, Records Access Officer (RAO), at bpetr@abschools.org or 978-264-3306. Although not required, we encourage requests to be in writing to ensure an efficient and accurate response. 

Fees
A RAO may assess a reasonable fee for the production of a public record unless that record is readily available for public inspection. If fees will be assessed, a written estimate of the cost will be provided the requester.

A fee may be charged for employee time necessary to identify, locate, and compile the records requested. A fee may also be charged for employee time necessary to review, and, as applicable, segregate and/or redact information exempt from public disclosure. The hourly rate for such fees shall be the hourly rate of the lowest paid employee capable of performing the task, not to exceed $25.00 per hour.

Appeals

If a requester wishes to assert a claim that they have been denied access to public records, they may appeal the RAO’s determination within 90 days to the Supervisor of Records pursuant to 950 CMR 32.08(1). The Supervisor shall make a final determination on the appeal within ten (10) business days of receipt.

For further information, see the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s “A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law,” January 2017 edition, available at www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/guide.pdf

 

Response to Requests

The RAO, if applicable, shall provide a written response within 10 business days following the receipt of request. Written requests received during normal business hours 
will be considered received on that date.  

If a full response, including provision of records, cannot be made within 10 business days of receipt of the request, the RAO or designee 
will respond to the requester in writing explaining the anticipated time frame for a complete response; identifying any records that the District does not have in its custody; identifying records which the District does not expect will be provided, or that will be redacted, specifying the relevant exemption and its application to the requested record or portion thereof; providing a good faith fee estimate; and including a statement of appeal rights.

The requester may be asked to clarify the request, provide more specific detail, and/or agree to a voluntary extension of time for the District to respond fully to the request.

Typically, a complete response 
will be provided within 25 business days of receipt of the request. If, due to the scope of the request, the need for redactions, or other complications, the District is concerned that it will not be able to provide a complete response within that time frame, the District may ask the requester for an extension of time to comply or petition the Supervisor of Public Records for additional time.

The District is only required to provide records that are in existence at the time of a request and is not required to create a new record to accommodate a specific request.


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