Freedom of Information Act Requests

  • FOIA Logo The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), S.C. Code Ann. §§ 30-4-10 to -165, provides access to public meetings and to certain records maintained by government bodies.  Consistent with the FOIA, records maintained by the Spartanburg School District 7 Communications Office (“Communications Office” or “Office”) are open to public review.  Upon request, the Office will make available to the public those records that are subject to disclosure under the FOIA and that are not privileged, protected, or otherwise exempt from disclosure or afforded confidential treatment by state or federal law.  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.

    How do I request information?

    All requests pursuant to the FOIA must be submitted in writing.  Although no particular form is required, written submissions should identify or describe the materials requested in order to allow staff to efficiently search for the records in question.  Overly broad or vague requests may make it difficult for the Office to respond in a timely manner or to search for or produce records at the lowest possible cost.  The scope of requests may be narrowed by subject, date, or custodian to help ensure that searches are tailored to the specific records sought and do not yield irrelevant information.  

    FOIA requests may be submitted by U.S. mail, fax, or by email:

    Communications Office
    Attn: FOIA 
    610 Dupre Drive 
    Spartanburg, SC 29307

    communications@spart7.org

    Please note 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. Additionally, South Carolina law prohibits obtaining or using public records for commercial solicitation directed to any person in this State and provides penalties for noncompliance under S.C. Code Ann. § 30-2-50. 

    How long will it take?                                                    

    The Communications Office will notify the requesting party of its determination and the reasons for such determination within either ten (10) or twenty (20) working days of receiving the request, depending on the age of the records requested.  Working days do not include Saturdays, Sundays, or legal public holidays.  

    The Office does not guarantee that a search will yield any responsive records.  If the requested records exist and are available for public disclosure, the Office will coordinate with appropriate staff to arrange for the retrieval and review.  Unless a deposit is required prior to searching for or reproducing responsive records, the information or materials generally will be furnished or made available for inspection or copying within either thirty (30) or thirty-five (35) calendar days of the determination of the request, depending on the age of the records requested.  

    All FOIA requests will be processed in a manner designed to ensure open access, accountability, and a timely response to the public.  Because some or all of the requested records could potentially implicate or involve sensitive economic development or law enforcement activities, ongoing litigation, or confidential matters that are otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under state or federal law, FOIA requests are coordinated through legal counsel.

    What does it cost?

    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.” District 7 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 $0.15 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 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 minimum 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, 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.