Freedom of Information Act
Citizens and members of the media are encouraged to submit informal requests for information and documents to the Office of Communications and Strategic Partnerships. These requests will be handled as expeditiously as possible, but will not be considered requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Chapter 4, Title 30, Code of Laws of South Carolina or any other formal legal code.
FOIA provides the public with access to existing non-exempt, official records of a public agency, but does not require the district to generate or create records. Certain categories of documents may be withheld, such as personnel records; student records; test and examinations used to evaluate student or employee performance; records relating to the security of students, staff and property; records protected from disclosure under attorney-client privileges; executive session materials, etc.
South Carolina law prohibits a person or private entity from obtaining or using personal information obtained from a state agency, a local government, or other political subdivision for commercial solicitation directed to any person in this state.
A reasonable fee not to exceed the actual cost will be charged for the search, retrieval, and, when appropriate, redaction of records produced in response to a request for public records under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Additionally, copies will be charged at a cost not to exceed the prevailing commercial rate for the producing of copies. In certain cases, particularly FOIA requests in which a large number of records or confidential information is requested, a deposit not exceeding 25% of the total estimated fee will be required prior to commencing the retrieval and production of records.
Reasonable efforts will be made to produce records at the lowest possible cost, and the following fee schedule will apply:
- Copying costs will be charged at a commercially reasonable rate of $0.10 per page, and, the fee for non-standard size documents, such as architectural plans or property plats, will be individually determined at the time of copying based on actual copying cost.
- Search, retrieval, and redaction costs of records will be charged at the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee who, in the reasonable discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and training to perform the search, retrieval, and, if appropriate, redaction. Records requests involving specialized, technical, or confidential information, or otherwise requiring redaction, will in many cases require an employee with a higher salary to perform the search, retrieval, and/or redaction. The fee rate, accordingly, will vary based on the nature of the records requested, depending on the necessary skill and training level necessary. However, the current minimum applicable fee rate is $25 per hour. Employee time will be billed based on 1/4 hour increments.
The fee schedule may vary from time to time as hourly wages, salaries, and commercially reasonable copying costs change.
Fees will not be charged for examination and review of documents to determine if the documents are subject to disclosure. Additionally, copying costs will not be charged for copies of records that are transmitted in electronic format, although if requested records are not already in electronic format, fees will be charged for staff time required to transfer the documents to electronic format.
Initial Response: For requested records less than 24 months old, Ricland Two will notify the requester within 10 business days from receipt of the request of its determination on the public availability of the requested record and the reasons for it. If the requested record is more than 24 months old at the time of the request, the district will notify the requester within 20 business days from receipt of the request of its determination on the public availability of the requested record and the reasons for it. If information will not be provided, the district’s response will include the reason why.
Final Response: If Richland Two determines it is in possession of responsive information, not subject to an exemption, the district will provide or make available the requested record no later than 30 calendar days from the date the initial response was provided if the record is less than 24 months old.* If the record is more than 24 months old, the district will provide or make available the requested record no later than 35 calendar days from the date the initial response was provided.*
*However, if a deposit is required by the district, the record must be furnished or made available no later than 30 calendar days from the date on which the deposit is received, unless the record is more than 24 months old, in which case the public body has no later than 35 calendar days from the date on which the deposit was received to fulfill the request. The full amount of the total cost must be paid at the time of the production of the request.