School documents and lost records
Q: Generally, are there any school district budget documents, reports, salary compensation information, etc. that are not accessible to the public?
I put in a Request for Public Records to view a permit plan and Building & Safety lost the plans within one week of receiving them. What recourse do I have?
A: In response to your inquiry below, school districts are subject to the Public Records Act disclosure requirements, so any documents relating to the district’s conduct of the public’s business, including budget-related documents, that are “prepared, owned, used or retained” by the district are accessible to the public unless they come under one of the exemptions set forth in Government Code sec. 6254 or the “catchall” exemption in sec. 6255. With regard to salary compensation information, there has been a fair amount
of controversy and litigation over the issue recently, but sec. 6254.8 of the Act does state that “every employment contract between a state or local agency and any public official or public employee is a public record” regardless of any exemption in secs. 6254 or 6255.
If I understand your second question correctly, the agency has in fact lost the record you are seeking. If that is actually the case, the agency does not have a duty to provide the record to you. If, however, the agency has access to an additional copy, perhaps at another location or in another format, or if another agency might have a copy, you are entitled to obtain a copy as long as it is subject to the Public Record Act’s disclosure requirements.