What is the Texas Public Information Act?
The Texas Public Information Act entitles individuals to information collected, assembled, produced or maintained in the course of transacting public business. (The Freedom of Information Act refers to federal government records.)
What Should My Request Include?
Your request should be in writing (email is fine) and should include the following information:
1) Your name, mailing address, and e-mail address (so we can send you a response)
2) Your phone number (so we can contact you with questions about how to respond to your request)
3) A list or description of the specific documents or records you are interested in obtaining, including time periods. Try to be as specific as possible about the information you are seeking.
Can You Provide me a Sample Texas Public Information Act Request?
Dear Public Information Officer,
Pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act, I would like to request a copy of the current contract between Midway ISD and ABC Company. When you have the information complete, please e-mail it to me at email@example.com .
If you have any questions, please give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
[Requestor’s name and address]
Where Should I Send my Request?
Your request should be sent to Midway ISD's Public Information Officer via mail, fax, e-mail, or in person as follows:
By e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
By fax to (254) 761-5789 (Attention: Public Information Officer)
By mail or in person to 13885 Woodway Drive, Woodway, TX 76712 (Attention: Public Information Officer)
How Will I be Charged?
Midway ISD is authorized under the Texas Public Information Act to charge requestors for the costs associated with producing public information. MISD will utilize the costs provided in Title I, Section 70.10 of the Texas Administrative Code with regard to charging requestors who seek public information under the Texas Public Information Act (see table below). These charges are those allowed by the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
Texas Public Information Act Request Charges
When Can I Expect a Response to My Request?
Promptly, specifically by the 10th business day after MISD receives your written request, the district will (1) Provide you the requested information; (2) Certify a date and time the information will be made available to you; (3) Send you a cost-estimate or a bill for the charges; (4) Ask you to narrow or clarify the scope of your request (please note that the 10 business day deadline starts over when you respond to the district’s request for narrowing or clarification); or (5) Request an open records letter ruling from the Office of the Attorney General and provide you a copy of its request.
Am I Entitled to All of the Information I Request?
In general, information that is held by the district is presumed to be public information, but there are some exceptions. Some of the exceptions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Student information/records
- Medical information/records
- Driver’s license or motor vehicle information
- Bank account or other account numbers
- Attorney/client privileged communications
- Information that relates to current or anticipated litigation
- Information that relates to a pending criminal investigation
- Third party proprietary information
- Other information that is made confidential under applicable law
What Happens if the District Believes the Information I Have Requested is Confidential?
The district is allowed to redact the confidential information without your permission or a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas (e.g. student information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Otherwise, the district may contact you to see if you are willing to narrow the scope of your request to exclude certain items that are confidential (e.g. attorney client privileged communications). If not, it may be necessary for the district to file a brief with the Office of the Attorney General seeking an open records letter ruling on whether the information you have requested is subject to public disclosure. In such a case, the district will then wait for a decision from the Office of the Attorney General (a process that can take up to 45 working days).
What are my Rights as a Requestor?
You have the right to:
- Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;
- Receive treatment equalto all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements;
- Receive a written statement of estimated charges, when charges will exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to modify the request in response to the itemized statement;
- Choose whether to inspect the requested information, receive copies of the information or both;
- Receive a copy of the communication from the district asking the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions, or if the communication discloses the requested information, a redacted copy;
- Lodge a written complaint about overcharges for public information with the Office of the Attorney General. Complaints of other possible violations may be filed with the county or district attorney of the county where the governmental body, other than a state agency, is located.
Can I Withdraw my Request?
You can withdraw your request at any time by sending an e-mail to the Public Information Officer indicating you would like to withdraw your request.
How Do I Get a Copy of Transcripts or Other Student Information?
In order to receive a copy of transcripts or other student information, you should contact the registrar's office at the student's current/last campus as opposed to submitting a Texas Public Information Act request.