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  • Freedom of Information Act

    This is an Illinois state statute that provides the public the right to access government documents and records. The law allows a person to ask a public institution for a copy of its records on specified information and the public institution must provide those records, unless there is an exemption in the statute that protects those records from disclosure.


    RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS

    WHEREAS, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (the "Act"), 5 ILCS 140/1 – 11.5, Public Act 83-1013, effective July 1, 1984, and revised several provisions of that Act pursuant to Public Act 96-0542, effective January 1, 2010; and

     WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of Lewis and Clark Community College District No. 536 is a public body within the meaning of Section 2(a) of the Act; and

    WHEREAS, Section 3(h) of the Act authorizes each public body subject to the Act to promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to the availability of records and procedures to be followed; and

    WHEREAS, Section 4 of the Act requires that each public body shall prominently display at each of its administrative offices and on its website, if one is maintained, and make available for inspection, copying and send through the mail, if requested: a) a brief description of itself; and b) a brief description of the methods whereby the public may request information and public records; and

    WHEREAS, Section 5 of the Act requires each public body to maintain and make available for inspection and copying a reasonably current list of the types or categories of public records under its control; and

    WHEREAS, Section 6 of the Act authorizes each public body to charge fees reasonably calculated to reimburse its actual costs of reproducing and certifying records or may charge fees for the actual cost of purchasing recording medium for reproduction of electronic records;

    NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Trustees of Lewis and Clark Community College District No. 536 as follows:

    1. The Board of Trustees adopts a policy on Public Records Administration, attached hereto as Exhibit A. The President of the College is directed to adopt administrative procedures not inconsistent with the College’s policy.

    2. The Board of Trustees designates the Vice President for Administration as the Freedom of Information Act Officer and the Director of Human Resources as the Second Freedom of Information Officer. The Freedom of Information Officers are responsible for receiving and responding to requests for access to public records. The Freedom of Information Officers are directed to obtain all required training pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act within the timeframes prescribed by Public Act 96-0542. Any future Freedom of Information Officer appointed by the Board of Trustees must complete all training required by the Act within 30 days after assuming the position. The Board of Trustees additionally designates the President as "head of the public body" for purposes of facilitating the College’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

    3. Within a reasonable time after the adoption of this Resolution, the Vice President for Administration shall prominently display at each of the College’s administrative offices, on its webpage, and otherwise make available for inspection and copying, the description of the College including the fee schedule applicable to requests for information, and the Index of Public Records, attached hereto as Exhibits B and C, respectively. These documents shall be reviewed and updated periodically by the Vice President for Administration as circumstances or the law warrant.

    This resolution shall be in full force and effect from and after its adoption.

    BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF LEWIS AND CLARK COMMUNITY COLLEGE,

    COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT NO. 536


    EXHIBIT A

    305 PUBLIC RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

    It is the policy of Lewis and Clark Community College to maintain and make available for inspection and copying public records under its control as well as other relevant information required by applicable state and federal laws.

    The Vice President of Administration serves as the College’s Freedom of Information Officer. The Director of Human Resources serves as the Second Freedom of Information Officer. The Freedom of Information Officers must complete Freedom of Information Officer training annually. The Freedom of Information Officers may designate additional representatives in the event he or she is absent or unable to perform his or her regular duties. The Freedom of Information Officers may select additional individuals to complete the Freedom of Information Officer training as needed to assist in meeting the College’s obligations to provide access to public records.

    The College’s "public records" are those documents, records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, papers, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, photographs, microfilms, cards and any other recorded information or material pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that were prepared by or for, used by, received by, or possessed by, or under the control of, the College. The College will not generate or produce new records to respond to a request. The College need not produce records it no longer keeps.

    All requests for information and public records shall be made in writing and submitted to one of the Freedom of Information Officers. The College may also make public records available for inspection during regular business hours at the administrative offices on the Godfrey Campus. Inspection of public records shall only occur on College property and no records may be removed from College property.

    The College’s Board of Trustees shall set and periodically review copy fees for public records.

    When responding to a request for a record containing both exempt and non-exempt material, the Freedom of Information Officers shall delete exempt information, including private information, from the record before complying with the request.

    The Freedom of Information Officers shall approve a request for information, unless:

    1. The requested material is:
      1. Not a "public record";
      2. Exempt from inspection and copying by the Freedom of Information Act or any other State or federal law; or
      3. Not required to be preserved or catalogued; or
       
    2. The request calls for all records falling within a category and complying with the request would be unduly burdensome for the College.

    If a Freedom of Information Officer denies a request for information, the Officer shall send a written Notice of Denial to the person making the request which contains:

    1. The reason for the denial. If the reason for the denial is that a record is exempt from disclosure under the Act, the specific exemption must be listed, as well as a statement of the facts supporting the denial.
    2. The name and title of the person responsible for the denial.
    3. The right of the requester to submit the request for review by the Public Access Counselor.
    4. The right of the requester to judicial review of the denial.

    The President may initiate a request for an advisory opinion from the Attorney General to facilitate the College’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

    The Freedom of Information Officers may inquire of a requester whether a request is being made for commercial purposes under FOIA. The Freedom of Information Officers will be responsible for making the final determination as to the nature of a request for information, even if the final determination is contrary to the asserted purpose. It is a violation of FOIA for a person to knowingly obtain a public record for a commercial purpose without disclosing that it is for a commercial purpose.


    EXHIBIT B: INFORMATION REQUIRED TO BE DISPLAYED AT EACH ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE

    AND ON THE COLLEGE’S WEBSITE UNDER FOIA

    Notice Of Posting Under The Freedom Of Information Act

    Lewis and Clark Community College District No. 536 ("College") is a public community college providing vocational and higher education to residents of the District. The College is recognized and meets the standards for approval established by the Illinois Community College Board.

    The College maintains administrative offices at the main campus in Godfrey, Illinois and at several satellite locations throughout the Community College District. The location of the College’s administrative offices is:

    President’s Office
    Erickson Hall – Room 115
    5800 Godfrey Road
    Godfrey, Illinois 62035

    The College maintains a satellite campus at 600 Troy Road in Edwardsville, Illinois and Community Education Centers at 18400 Shipman Road in Carlinville, Illinois, and 100 Lincoln, Route 16 in Jerseyville, Illinois.

    The College is governed by a Board of Trustees elected by the residents of the Community College District. Current members of the Board of Trustees are as follows:

    • Robert L. Watson, Chairman (Brighton)
    • Brenda Walker McCain, Vice Chairman (Alton)
    • Walter S. Ahlemeyer, Secretary (Brighton)
    • Edward Hightower (Edwardsville)
    • Dwight Werts (Godfrey)
    • Peter Basola (Jerseyville)
    • Sarah Ditterline, Student Trustee (Godfrey)

    The College employs approximately __292____ full-time and __285___ part-time employees.

    The College is divided into several functional divisions:

    • President
    • Academic Affairs
    • Finance
    • Information Technology
    • Enrollment Services
    • Administration
    • Student Life

    The total operating budget for the College is $30,052,823.00

    Members of the public may request information about the College by contacting the Vice President for Administration or the Director of Human Resources at 5800 Godfrey Road, Godfrey, Illinois 62035. Forms are available from the Vice President for Administration or the College’s Human Resource Office to facilitate requesting access to public records maintained by the College. Fees for copies of public records are as follows:

    SCHEDULE OF FEES

    The following fees are currently charged for copying College public records:

    8 ½ x 11" paper: black and white print: no charge for the first 50 pages; 4¢ per page thereafter

    8 ½ x 11" paper: color print: 40¢ per page

    11 x 17" paper or reduction: 10¢ per page for black and white print and 80¢ per page for color print

    Reduction of fee in the

    public interest: no charge for first 100 pages; standard charges apply thereafter

    Certification of record $1.00

    Electronic record: Request specific; the College charges the actual cost of obtaining the medium for recording the information (e.g., disc, flash drive, etc.)


    EXHIBIT C

    INDEX OF PUBLIC RECORDS MAINTAINED BY THE COLLEGE

    1. Budget information

    2. Levy resolution, certificate of tax levy, and tax receipts

    3. Official bonds

    4. Audits

    5. Annual Reports

    6. Receipts for revenue

    7. Bills paid by the Board of Trustees

    8. Vouchers

    9. Agenda for meetings of the Board of Trustees

    10. Minutes of public meetings of the Board of Trustees

    11. Resolutions and ordinances of the Board of Trustees

    12. Board policies and rules and regulations and College administrative procedures and instructions

    13. Final collective bargaining agreements

    14. List of employees’ names, salaries, titles and dates of employment

    15. Insurance information

    16. Bidding specifications

    17. Contracts between the Board of Trustees and Third-Party Provides of Materials and Services

    18. Applications for contracts, permit or grants

    19. Real estate records

    20. Legal notices

    21. Newspaper articles

    22. Enrollment and other reports required to be filed with the Illinois Community College Board

    23. Student directory information

    INDEX OF PUBLIC RECORDS SUBJECT TO ROUTINE DISCLOSURE 

    1. Annual Reports

    2. Agenda for meetings of the Board of Trustees

    3. Minutes of public meetings of the Board of Trustees

    4. Resolutions and ordinances of the Board of Trustees

    5. Board policies and rules and regulations and College administrative procedures and instructions

    6. Final collective bargaining agreements

    7. Legal notices


    FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

    REQUEST FOR INFORMATION AND RESPONSE

     

    Name:______________________________________________ Date of Request: __________

    Mailing Address: _____________________________________ Telephone: ______________

    _____________________________________

    _____________________________________

    Signature: ___________________________________________

    Please describe the public records you wish to access, being as specific as possible:

     

     

    Are you requesting to review or copy these records? ___________________________________

    (Please note that a duplicating fee must be paid before copies are made.)

    FOR COLLEGE USE:

     

    Date of Response: ______________________

    Type of Response: Compliance with Request: ____________________

    Denial of Request: ____________________

    Reason for Denial: _____________________________________________________________

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Signature of Freedom of Information Officer: ________________________________________

    If you believe records are being improperly withheld under FOIA, you may submit your request for review to Cara Smith; Public Access Counselor; Office of the Attorney General; 500 S. 2nd Street; Springfield, Illinois 62706; Phone: 312-814-5526 or 1-877-299-FOIA (1-877-299-3642); Fax: 217-782-1396; E-mail: publicaccess@atg.state.il.us. You may also seek judicial review pursuant to FOIA.


    ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE CONCERNING ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS

    Upon receipt of a FOIA Request for Information, the Freedom of Information Officers must take the following steps to comply with the Act:

    • Note the date the request was received;
    • Determine if the response may be treated differently because it is: a) a commercial request; b) a routine request; or c) a request in the public interest.
    • Compute the date the response is due and note that date on the request
    • Maintain a file with the request, response and other written documentation related to the request
    • Determine, to the extent feasible upon receipt of the request, whether compliance with the request is feasible within 5 business days or within an additional 5 business days where:
      1. The records are stored in whole or in part at a location other than the Godfrey Campus
      2. The request requires the collection of a substantial number of specified records
      3. The request requires an extensive search for categorical records
      4. The requested records have not been located in the course of a routine search and additional efforts must be made to locate them
      5. The requested records require careful examination and evaluation to determine if they are exempt from disclosure
      6. The request cannot be complied within the initial time limit without "unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of" the College
      7. There is a need for consultation with another public body or among two or more components of a public body having a substantial interest in the determination or subject matter of the request
    • If the College requires the additional 5 business days for one of the stated reasons above, the Freedom of Information Officers shall, within 5 business days of receiving the request, notify the requester in writing of the reason for extension.
    • If the College requires additional time to comply with the request beyond the initial 5 business day response window or beyond any allowable 5-day extension, the Freedom of Information Officers shall seek a written agreement with the requester regarding the date for compliance.
    • All timelines must be strictly monitored and complied with. If the Freedom of Information Officers fail to comply with the deadlines, the College may not assert the "unduly burdensome" exemption and may not charge fees for any records that are produced.
    • If a request for information is received by any individual in the College, it should be forwarded immediately to the Freedom of Information Officers. A request for information does not need to be submitted on the College’s form. Rather, an e-mail or letter addressed to any individual in the College requesting information should be treated in the same manner as a formal request on the College’s form.

    Additional Considerations for Certain Requests:

    • Routine Requests: Requested documents may fall within the category of "routine requests" that may be readily produced or made available in a readily accessible manner on the College’s webpage. The Freedom of Information Officers shall develop and update as necessary, a list of documents or categories of records that constitute routine requests subject to immediate disclosure.
    • Requests in the Public Interest: If upon initial review, or upon specification by the requester, the Officers determine that a request is in the public interest, the Officers may apply the reduced fee schedule.
    • Commercial Requests: If the Freedom of Information Officers receive a request for commercial purposes, meaning the use of any part of information in or derived from public records in any form for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sales or services, the Officers shall respond within 21 days to the requester by: 1) providing an estimate of the time required to provide the records and an estimate of the fees to be charged; 2) denying the request; 3) notifying the requester that the request is unduly burdensome; or 4) complying with the request. If the purpose of the request is unclear, the Freedom of Information Officers may inquire whether the request is for a commercial purpose and may make a determination as to the purpose of a request based on the information provided, even if contrary to the asserted purpose. It is a violation of FOIA for a person to knowingly obtain a public record for a commercial purpose without disclosing that it is for a commercial purpose.
    • Unduly Burdensome Requests: When a request is made for "all records falling within a category" and compliance with the request would be "unduly burdensome" so that the burden on the College outweighs the public interest in the information, the College may deny the request on this basis. Before invoking this basis for denial, the College must consult with the requester and provide the requester the opportunity to reduce or narrow the request to make it less burdensome. Repeated requests for the same public records by the same person may be considered "unduly burdensome."

    Denial of Requests:

    • If the Freedom of Information Officers determine that a request for information must be denied, a Notice of Denial shall be sent to the person making the request. The notice of denial shall list the specific exemption(s) that covers the requested records.
    • If the College denies a request on the basis that the information is exempt from disclosure because disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or because the information constitutes preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, memoranda and other records in which opinions are expressed, or policies or actions are formulated, the Freedom of Information Officers shall submit a Notice of Intent to deny the request to the Public Access Counselor with the Office of the Attorney General, on forms provided by that office. The Freedom of Information Officers shall provide a detailed explanation of the College’s reasons for asserting the exemption to disclosure. The Freedom of Information Officer must submit the Notice of Intent to deny within the timeframe for responding to the request.

    Recordkeeping:

    • The College will maintain a file for each request with the original request, a copy of the response, a written record of communications with a requester, and other written communications applicable to the request.
    • In addition, to maintaining files of individual requests, the College will keep a central file of all denied requests for information, indexed by the applicable exemption and, to the extent feasible, by the type of record requested.