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Access to Governmental Records - NH RSA 91-A
The state of New Hampshire’s Right to Know law, RSA 91-A:1-a, provides access to the public to governmental records, with some exceptions. Under the law, members of the public may request access to governmental records, which in the case of Manchester School District are referred to as “district records.” Below, you can find the simplified process of filing a Right to Know request with Manchester School District.
For more information, you can refer to district policies, updated in January 2021, regarding Right to Know requests, which you can find below.
Filing a Right to Know request
You can submit a Right to Know request to Manchester School District for district records that are not already publicly available. We prefer that requests be submitted using our online form, but you may also use our paper form or request records via email.
Please be as clear as possible about the record(s) you are requesting, being sure to include all relevant information including dates.
MSD’s Director of Communications and Community Relations Andrew Toland is the public point of contact for Right to Know requests. You can direct questions about the process to Andrew Toland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens after you file a request
The district will review the request and acknowledge receipt within 5 business days.
If necessary, the district will ask for clarification or advise that request must be narrowed.
If the records requested are deemed public, they will be made available for review.
Public records can be made available for inspection at the district office. Records can also be sent using email, or loaded on a USB flash drive (you must provide the drive unopened in packaging, or you can purchase one from the district). Alternately, records can be provided in paper form, however the district will charge $0.25 per page for printing/copying.
Relevant Manchester School District policies
Safety 124 DATA MANAGEMENT
The Superintendent and/or his/her designee is hereby designated the custodian of all District Records for purposes of requests pursuant to RSA 91-A. This policy shall apply to all requests to inspect or obtain copies of “District records,” which shall have the same meaning as “governmental records” as that term is defined in New Hampshire’s Right to Know law, RSA 91-A:1-a. Without limiting that meaning, District records shall include board or board committee minutes, and any other documents, writings, letters, memoranda, e-mails, images, or other information of any kind kept or maintained by the District in any physical form (written, visual, electronic, digital, etc.).
The Superintendent or his/her designee shall create an administrative procedure clearly outlining the process for the public to make a Right to Know request for records, and shall make this policy and the corresponding procedure available on the District’s web page.
All requests for public information are to be forwarded to the Superintendent and/or his/her designee immediately upon receipt. The Superintendent and/or his/her designee shall thereupon make a determination as to whether or not the information requested is public in nature, always considering the privacy requirements of FERPA and IDEA. If public, the Superintendent and/or his/her designee shall provide the information in a timely manner which does not disrupt the operation of the schools. Records requested under the Right to Know law which are not exempt under RSA 91-A:5 (or otherwise) will be made available immediately when such records are so available for such release. If such records are not immediately available, and/or if a determination needs to be made whether such records are exempt from public disclosure, the Superintendent or his/her designee will, within five (5) business days of the initial request, respond to the requestor, in writing, acknowledging receipt of the request and providing a statement of the time reasonably necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied. The Superintendent or designee may contact the person making the request if the request is unclear or will be time consuming or onerous to fulfill to determine if the person will clarify the request or agree to narrow the request. Any clarification or narrowing of the request shall be documented in writing and a copy of the re-formed request provided to the person making the request.
Records will be reviewed in their entirety by either the Superintendent or his/her designee before they are released in order to ensure that no confidential or exempted information is disclosed. District legal counsel may be consulted as necessary. Records exempted from disclosure by RSA 91-A:5 or other law will not be disclosed. If a member of the public requests records that are determined to be exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A:5 or other law, the Superintendent or his/her designee will respond to the requestor, in writing, including a statement of the specific exemption authorizing the withholding, and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record(s) withheld. If the information is in active use or otherwise unavailable, the party requesting the information shall be notified immediately upon it becoming available. Requests for research including de-identified student data will be complied with to the extent possible while maintaining student confidentiality. Requests for research documents outside the ambit of 91-A shall require the requestor to state their affiliation, and provide proof of approval for research from their institution, where applicable.
If the Superintendent and/or his/her designee finds the information is not exempted from disclosure or confidential pursuant to FERPA or IDEA and if the information is public in nature pursuant to RSA 91-A:4, he or she shall direct that it be reproduced on the premises. If the Superintendent and/or his/her designee finds the information to not be public in nature, he or she shall inform the requesting party and shall for no reason release such information. Student confidentiality shall be maintained at all times in the release of any information that is determined to be public in nature.
The District will charge a fee of $0.25 per page for copying/ photocopies of records when the person requests a paper copy. No cost or fee shall be charged for the inspection or delivery, without copying of records, whether in paper, electronic, or other form. Electronic records may be provided via e-mail or on a portable storage device (thumb drive), if the requestor so requests and if such records can practically be delivered electronically. To protect the integrity of the District’s computer system, a thumb drive for this purpose must either be provided by the requestor in unopened manufacturer’s packaging or purchased at cost from the District.
All District records shall be retained, deleted or destroyed in accordance with Board policy Safety 126: Data Records/ Retention. Minutes of school board meetings shall also be made available in accordance with Board policy.
If the Superintendent and/or his/her designee is unable to ascertain whether or not the information requested is public in nature, he or she is hereby authorized to request, on behalf of the Board, an opinion from the District’s attorney as to the nature of the information. Such opinion requests shall be made within ten (10) days of the original request for the information.
The Superintendent and/or his/her designee shall notify the person requesting such information that an opinion is being requested of the attorney and shall notify such person immediately upon receipt of an answer from the attorney.
Fiscal 128 COPYING AND RESEARCH FEES
It is the policy of the Board of School Committee that the District charge fees for copying and research time that are reasonably calculated to reimburse the District’s actual cost for reproducing records, for the use of its equipment to copy records as well as staff time to research and develop data required to respond to a request. These fees do not apply to any request made pursuant to New Hampshire’s Right to Know Law, but shall apply to any requests for research documents and any other requests that are not made pursuant to the Right to Know law. Fees shall be as follows:
Copies of existing documents: Twenty-five (25) cents per page
Transcripts: No charge for current students, two (2) dollars for post graduates per transcript
Research and Development Fees:
Twenty-five (25) dollars per hour to develop data that does not already exist
Receipts shall be provided for all monies collected.
Monies collected by the Superintendent’s Office shall be accounted for in the general ledger as “Copying Receipts”, revenue code 41911.
Whenever possible transcripts shall be provided electronically.