A&A: How do I find which grant funded school district position using CPRA

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Q: There have been several newly created positions in our school district. One says, “grant funded.” I’m looking to find which grant, but I’m not sure what document to ask for. Can you help?

[/vc_column_text][ult_buttons btn_title=”Exercise your right to know! Ask FAC’s Legal Hotline your own question!” btn_link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Ffacelementor.wpengine.com%2Flegal-hotline||” btn_align=”ubtn-center” btn_size=”ubtn-custom” btn_width=”630″ btn_height=”70″ btn_padding_left=”10″ btn_padding_top=”10″ btn_bg_color=”#00ade5″ icon=”Defaults-desktop” icon_size=”42″ icon_color=”#000000″ btn_icon_pos=”ubtn-sep-icon-at-left” btn_border_style=”outset” btn_color_border=”rgba(244,244,244,0.37)” btn_color_border_hover=”#ffffff” btn_border_size=”5″ btn_radius=”5″ btn_shadow=”shd-bottom” btn_shadow_color=”#a8a8a8″ btn_shadow_size=”5″ btn_shadow_click=”enable” enable_tooltip=”yes” tooltip_text=”It’s FREE!” tooltip_pos=”top” btn_font_family=”font_family:Raleway|font_call:Raleway” btn_font_style=”font-weight:bold;” btn_font_size=”14″][vc_column_text]A: I understand that you would like to make a Public Records Act request for documents related to a new position in the district that is funded by a grant.

The California Public Records creates a right to see public records. It defines “public records” as “any writing containing information related to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.” Gov’t Code  §  6252(e).

Thus, any records that the school district has related to grants that fund this job would be open to inspection.

As an initial matter, some school districts have an online database of policies and documents.  These documents may help you to tailor your search for the specific type of document you are looking for.

If the information you seek is not available through the public database, you can make a CPRA request. Since you would like to find out what grant specifically is funding that position, you might consider asking for documents related to grant funding for the specific title of the newly created position.

In your CPRA you should describe the record as precisely as possible, including the designation of any forms or reports with titles, the date or dates if relevant.

You would want to request the documents related to the grant funding for the specific title of the newly created position in the school district and can reference the document or report indicating that that position is grant funded.

If you have any documents that reference the grant funding for that position, it can help to attach a copy of that reference, do so.

In the Public Records section of the website you’ll find a  sample CPRA request letter.

Once you submit a written CPRA request a number of obligations are triggered on the part of the school district including:

Responding in writing to any written requests for records within 10 days of receipt of the request, and making copies of records available promptly thereafter.  Gov’t Code § 6253(c).

  •  If the agency is claiming that an exemption applies to any of the records you are seeking, it must let you know what the exemption is, and exactly how it applies to those records.  Gov’t Code § 6253(c).
  • Assisting the public in making focused and effective requests that reasonably describe identifiable records.  Gov’t Code § 6253.1.
  • As you can see, the agency has a responsibility to assist you in making a focused and effective request that reasonably describes identifiable records, so in the event that your description of the requested documents does exactly match the type of records the school district has, they should assist you in refocusing your request.

Find out more about the CA Public Records Act in FAC’s  CPRA primer.

Bryan Cave LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC hotline inquiries. In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]