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Public Access Opinion 16-003

Failure to Respond to a FOIA Request

Administrator Contracts
Case: Public Access Opinion 16-003
Date: Friday, March 25, 2016

For the second time this calendar year, the PAC has told public bodies they must respond to FOIA requests. Following receipt of a FOIA request, a school district properly responded within 5 business days to extend its timeline for a response by an additional 5 business days pursuant to FOIA Section 3(e). Thereafter, however, the school district failed to respond to the FOIA request within the time permitted for the extension, and then repeatedly failed to respond to subsequent requests by the Public Access Bureau that it respond to the FOIA request. The PAC ordered the school district to immediately provide all records responsive to the FOIA requester, subject only to any permissible redactions under Section 7 of FOIA. The bottom line here is that public bodies must respond to FOIA requests within the time permitted per statute.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.