ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY TYPE: ADMINISTRATION
POLICY TITLE: Public Records
• Release of Public RecordsThe release of public records and cost or fees thereof, will be in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 19, Subchapter II, Public Records and Property.
Except as otherwise provided by law, any requestor has a right to inspect records that are considered to be in the interest of the public. The legal custodian, upon request for any record, shall, as soon as practicable and without delay, either fill the request or notify the requester of the determination to deny the request in whole or in part and the reasons thereof. An authority may impose fees, refer to 19.35 below.
The President of the college is the official legal custodian of the district records. All requests for the release, inspection, and/or reproduction/duplication of public records of the district shall be directed or referred to the Office of the President. Records are defined as having relation to the functioning of the college. Specific exceptions do apply.
With district records, access to student records is further limited by application of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
Subsections 19.31 to 19.39 specifically apply. The titles of each section with a short summary follow, with the exception of specific information provided regarding fees:
19.31 Declaration of policy: states, in recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the public policy of the State of Wisconsin that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. The denial of public access generally is contrary to the public interest, and only in an exceptional case may access be denied.
19.32 Definitions: defines Authority, Incarcerated persons, Penal facility, Person authorized by the individual, Personally identifiable information, Record, and Requester.
19.33 Legal Custodians: specifies legal custodians, right of designation of authority to others.
19.34 Procedural information: speaks to the appropriate display of notice to the public which describes the organization and defines procedures whereby the public may obtain information and access to records in its custody, make requests for records, or obtain copies of records, and the costs thereof.
Such a notice is posted at the main entrance of each of the college owned or leased facilities. The notice states:
“Release of and Access to Public RecordsFox Valley Technical College is a public institution with the specific purpose of providing technical education to a five-county district. Governance of the college is provided by a District Board of Trustees, the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, and Wisconsin Statutes as defined under Wis. Stats., Chapter 38, in addition to constitutions and laws of the United States of America.
The public has a right to access official public records of the college except as otherwise provided by laws. Records are defined as having relation to the functioning of the college. All requests must be hand- or type-written for the release, inspection, and/or reproduction/duplication of public records and shall be directed or referred to the Office of the President, Room A104. Regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the exception of holidays and/or pre-scheduled closings.
Upon request for a record, as soon as practicable and without delay, the request will be filled or the requestor will be notified of the determination to deny the request in whole or in part and the reasons thereof.
Fees may be imposed; however, may not exceed the actual, necessary and direct cost of location, reproduction and transcription, and mailing and shipping of records unless otherwise specifically established by law. Prepayment may be required.
A copy of this notice may be obtained from the reception desk.”
19.35 Access to records; fees. 19.35(3): FEES. (a) An authority may impose a fee upon the requester of a copy of a record which may not exceed the actual, necessary and direct cost of reproduction and transcription of the records, unless a fee is otherwise specifically established or authorized to be established by law. 19.35 (3)(b) refers to photographing and photographic processing if the form does not permit copying. 19.35(3)(c): Except as otherwise provided by law, an authority may impose a fee upon a requester for locating a record, not exceeding the actual, necessary and direct cost of location, if the cost is $50 or more. 19.35(3)(d) An authority may impose a fee upon a requester for the actual, necessary and direct cost of mailing or shipping of any copy or photograph of a record which is mailed or shipped to the requester. 19.35(3)(e) An authority may provide copies of a record without charge or at a reduced charge where the authority determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest. 19.35(3)(f) An authority may require prepayment by a requester of any fee or fees imposed under this subsection if the total amount exceeds $5.
19.36 Limitations upon access and withholding: refers to application of other laws, any record which is specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal law, such as law enforcement records, trade secrets.
19.365 Rights of data subject to challenge; authority corrections: speaks to a person or person authorized by an individual challenging the accuracy of a record containing personally identifiable information and the action to be taken.
19.37 Enforcement and penalties: should an authority withhold a record or a part of a record or delays granting access to a record or part of a record after a written request for disclosure is made, the requester may pursue either or both, bring an action for mandamus asking a court to order release of the record, and/or request the district attorney of the county where the record is found, or the attorney general, to bring an action for mandamus ordering the release of record to the requester.
19.39 Interpretation by attorney general: Any person may request advice from the attorney general as to the applicability of this subchapter under any circumstances. The attorney general may respond to such a request.