Request for Public Data
The Right of the Public to Inspect and Copy Data the Westonka School District Keeps
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) gives everyone the right to inspect (look at) and have copies of public data that the Westonka School District ISD 277 (“the District”) keeps. The MGDPA is Chapter 13 of Minnesota Statutes. This document explains these rights and how to use them regarding the District. This document is based on model materials prepared by the Information and Policy Analysis Division of the Minnesota Department of Administration.
General Information About the Data the District Keeps
The law says that all the data the District keeps are public unless there is a state or federal law that classifies the data in some other way. The District must give public data to anyone who asks, no matter who is asking or why. In this document, “data” means individual items or elements of data. Each document, record or file contains many data elements.
Some of the public data the District keeps are posted on the Web at www.westonka.k12.mn.us, but it is not necessary to have access to the Web to inspect or have copies of the data. The District also offers reports, brochures, and other publications for anyone to have if they ask.
How to Make a Request for Public Data
To inspect or have copies of data the District keeps, make a written data request using the form found in Attachment A .
The request should:
- say that the requestor is making a data request under the MGDPA,
- say whether the requestor wishes to inspect the data, have copies of the data, or both, and
- describe very clearly the data to be inspected or copied. Anyone requesting public data has the right to inspect the data before deciding to request copies.
The District is required only to respond to requests for access to data under Chapter 13. The District is not required to respond, or follow timelines in responding, if you only submit a question about data. In the following example, the first statement is a question about data that does not require a response under Chapter 13. The second statement is a request for data requiring a response.
- Why did the school board decide to offer a Gifted and Talented education program?
- I would like access to all data about why the school board decided to offer a Gifted and Talented Education program.
The District can't require a person who makes a data request to identify him/herself or explain the reason for the data request, but some information may be needed about that person, depending on how the person pays for copies or if copies are mailed or faxed.
How the District Responds to a Data Request
First, if it is not clear exactly what data are being requested, the District will clarify the request with the person who is making it, and then find out if the District has the data. If the District does not have the data, the requestor will be notified as soon as reasonably possible.
If the District has the data but the data are not public, the requestor will be notified as soon as reasonably possible, and the District will identify the specific law that makes the data not public. The District will do this in writing upon request.
If the District has the data and the data are public:
- If the request is to inspect the data, the District will arrange a date, time and place for inspection. The District can't charge a fee for letting someone inspect data.
- If copies are requested, the District will provide them as soon as reasonably possible by mail or fax, or they may be picked up. If the District keeps the data in electronic form and copies are requested in electronic form (such as by email or on disk), the copies will be provided in electronic form. The District charges a fee for providing copies. If a person inspects data and then asks for copies of only some of the data, the District charges a fee only for the copies requested. The District charges an additional fee for providing copies of data that have commercial value. Fees are described in Attachment B.
The District will respond to a data request in an appropriate and prompt way, and in a reasonable time (usually within 30 days). Response time depends on things like how many data and/or copies are requested, how many staff members are available to respond to the request, and how many other data requests the District is handling.
The District will explain the data in an understandable way upon request.
The law says the District doesn't have to create or collect data if the District doesn't have the data requested. The District doesn't have to provide data in the form or arrangement requested if the data are not kept in that form or arrangement. If the District agrees to create the data or put the data in the form or arrangement requested, the requestor will be charged for the cost.
The District will prepare summary data if the requestor makes a request in writing and pays the cost of preparing the data. Summary data are statistical records or reports that are prepared by removing all identifiers from private or confidential data on individuals.
For more information about the right to inspect and have copies of public data that the District keeps, contact the District DPCO identified below.
Westonka School District Data Practices Compliance Official (DPCO)
Director, Special Services
5901 Sunnyfield Road East
Minnetrista MN 55364
(952) 491-8030; fax: (952) 491-8012; email@example.com
Westonka School District Responsible Authority
Superintendent Kevin Borg
5901 Sunnyfield Road East
Minnetrista MN 55364
(952) 491-8001; fax: (952) 491-8012; firstname.lastname@example.org