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Public Records

The public records of the Wake County Public School System are governed by the state of North Carolina’s Public Records Act, General Statute 132. The Office of Family and Community Engagement is responsible for ensuring that all public records requests are handled in a timely and uniform manner.



What is a public record?

Public records are documentary materials made or received by government agencies in North Carolina in carrying on public business. Public records include materials written or created by WCPSS and its employees. They may also include materials written or made by private people or companies and submitted to WCPSS regardless of whether those materials were required or requested by WCPSS or whether they were sent WCPSS voluntarily at the private person's initiative.

Public records include paper and electronic documents, emails, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics.

Procedures for handling public records requests

  1. WCPSS will respond to public records requests whether the request is written or oral.
  2. WCPSS will acknowledge receipt of the request orally or in writing. Requesters may be asked to put request in writing, however, if the requester declines, WCPSS will honor the oral request.
  3. If a WCPSS employee believes it would help to ensure the accuracy of the department's response, the requester may be asked for the intended use of the information requested, but the requester is not obligated to give this information.
  4. If a request is ambiguous or overly broad, WCPSS will give you an opportunity to revise the request so that the records requested are identified with sufficient clarity.
  5. Documents and information that are protected as privileged or confidential by law will not be produced in response to a public records request. If some confidential information is commingled in a document that is otherwise a public record, WCPSS will make available the portion of the record that is not exempt and clearly redact the exempt portion of the record.
  6. If the request is denied in whole or in part, WCPSS will provide the requester with an explanation of the denial. If the original request was in writing, the explanation of the denial will also be in writing.
  7. Once identified and compiled, documents will be prepared and made available for inspection at no charge. If the requester wants copies of the documents, WCPSS may respond by electronic mail or other means if the requester has no objection. The first 100 pages are free, with 10 cents per page thereafter. Checks may be made payable to Wake County Public School System.
  8. WCPSS will respond to public records requests as promptly as possible in light of the nature and scope of the request.

Examples Of Records Exempt From Disclosure Under The Public Records Act:

  • Confidential student records and data, such as individual student's grades or discipline records
  • Confidential personnel records and information, such as information related to promotions, demotions, or performance evaluations.
  • Written communications protected by attorney-client privilege.

How are the records collected? Requests for email records are collected from our email archive. Requests for non-email records are collected from electronic and hardcopy sources.

What is redacted? The most commonly redacted data are the names of children, or information that could be used to identify them. Other items that could need redaction are employee data and items that are protected by attorney-client privilege.

How long does it take to redact? Time needed for the redaction process can vary greatly, based largely on the number of documents in the request.

Are public records requests themselves public records? Yes.

More information

Contact

Communications: (919) 431-7800