Requesting Public Records & Freedom of Information Act

  • The Communications Office is the initial contact point for members of the news media needing information about Rock Hill Schools. The office also responds to questions from parents, educators, and the general public, including requests for information through the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we have 10 business days within which to inform you of the availability of the non-exempt “public records” that you have requested and to provide a time and cost estimate to provide those public records to you. Once notice is provided as to the availability of the requested record, we have 30 days from the original response date. If the requested records are more than two years old, we have 5 additional days to produce the records.

    Please note that it is against South Carolina law to obtain or use public records for commercial solicitation. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-2-50. There are penalties involved for noncompliance with the state’s prohibitions against using information secured through a FOIA records request for commercial solicitation. We do not guarantee that a records search will result in any responsive records being located.

    We do not make public, and will not produce in response to your request, those records that may be exempted under state law, including, but not limited to, trade secrets, personal information of students or teachers, confidential proprietary information, privileged communications, or protected information. We do not provide personally identifiable student information. For a partial list of exemptions under the law, please see S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40. Under South Carolina law, “Documents may be furnished when appropriate without charge or at a reduced charge where the agency determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because furnishing the information can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public.” Rock Hill Schools will make the final determination as to whether a request made under the Freedom of Information Act is one primarily benefiting the general public.

    Reasonable efforts will be made to produce public records at the lowest possible cost, and the following fee schedule will apply:

    • Copying cost 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 individuallys 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 request 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 minumum applicable fee rate is $16.00 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, altough if requested records are not already in electronic format, fees will be charged for staff time required to transfer the documents to electronic format.

    Additionally, we abide by all laws and regulations pertaining to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and do not make public any records protected under these Acts. Please note that it is against South Carolina law to obtain or use public records for commercial solicitation.

     

    Submitting a Request

    A request can be made in writting and sent via email to communications@rhmail.org or to our office at 386 E. Black St., Rock Hill, SC 29730.