1. Who should I contact to make an open records request?
The official custodian of records for a school district is, by law, the clerk of the Board of Education.
2. What if I do not know the name or address of the record custodian?
Each public agency subject to the KORA must provide, upon request, the office hours, name of the record custodian, any fee schedule they have created, and the procedures for obtaining records. In addition, each public agency should have a freedom of information officer assigned to assist the public with KORA requests and disputes. That officer is to provide information on KORA including a brochure stating the public's basic rights under KORA. The freedom of information officer is not required to act as the requester's advocate or legal advisor. See K.S.A. 45-220, 45-226 and 45-227 at www.kslegislature.org .
3. May a public agency have more than one record custodian?
Yes. The KORA permits the official custodian to designate other persons to carry out custodial duties. Some agencies are so large they need more than one person to help with such duties. But the ultimate duty to comply with the KORA rests with the official record custodian, not the designated custodian(s). See K.S.A. K.S.A. 45-217 and 45-220 at www.kslegislature.org .
4. What are the procedures for each public agency?
They may vary. Not all public agencies use the same procedure for all requests, so you need to ask each agency for its procedures.
5. When may I look at public records?
When the public agency is open and has a staff member who is available to help you. A public agency is not required to allow un-attended access to public records; in order to protect public records, a public agency may assign someone to monitor or watch as public records are being handled. Members of the public can inspect during regular office hours, as allowed by the record custodian, and during any established additional hours. If the agency does not have regular office hours it should establish reasonable hours when persons may inspect records. An agency without regular office hours may require 24 hour notice of desire to inspect. Notice to inspect shall not be required to be in writing. See K.S.A. 45-218 and K.S.A. 45-220, www.kslegislature.org .
6. May a public agency require proof of my identity in connection with a KORA request?
Yes. The public agency may require proof of identity. See K.S.A. 45-220 at www.kslegislature.org
7. May a public agency require a record request to be in writing?
Yes. The public agency may require written record requests.
8. May a public agency require a specific form to make a record request?
No. A public agency may ask that a request be in writing, but not on a specific form. However, some agencies make a form to help clarify what is being requested. The Attorney General's office does not have such a request form. See K.S.A. 45-220 at www.kslegislature.org
9. How soon should I get a response?
The public agency must "act upon" (respond to) a record request as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the third business day following the date the request was received. K.S.A. 45-218. Weekends and holidays are not included when counting.
10. What if access or copies are not immediately granted or provided?
If access or copies are not granted immediately (within the three business days time frame) the public agency must give a detailed explanation for the delay. K.S.A. 45-218.
11. What if access or copies are denied?
If the request is denied, a written statement of the legal grounds for the denial shall be given upon request. K.S.A. 45-218. Some degree of specificity is required.
12. Who has the burden of establishing that an exception to openness applies to a specific record?
The public agency. The burden of establishing the applicability of an exemption from disclosure under the KORA requires the party claiming the exemption to provide more than conclusory language, generalized allegations, or mere arguments. A sufficiently detailed explanation must be provided to show the reasons why an exemption applies to the requested records.
13. What if I want to know if a law closes a record in advance, before I make a record request?
The KORA does not require record custodians to provide or determine their response(s) before a request is made nor is it always possible to answer such questions in the abstract or as a hypothetical. You may review the list of exceptions in K.S.A. 45-221. However, the best way to find out if a record custodian thinks a record is closed, and under what exception, is often to simply ask for access or copies of that record together with a request for a written citation to the law closing the record if access/copies are denied.
14. May access or copies be denied by a public agency if it places too much of a burden on the public agency or it's not the first time I've requested the records from the agency?
Yes. Access may be denied if the request places an unreasonable burden in producing the record or is intended to disrupt the agency. K.S.A. 45-218(e). However, the Attorney General cautions public agencies not to use this provision very often; it should be used only in extreme circumstances. Refusal under this section must be sustained by a preponderance of evidence.
For additional questions and answers, please visit the Kansas Attorney General's Web site. >> Click here .