Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

Access to Public Records and Documents

The Beaufort County School District is committed to operating in a transparent fashion, and this includes a commitment to making public records available for inspection under the provisions of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.   Our FOIA procedures are designed to promote open government, citizen involvement and organizational accountability. 

Any member of the public can review or obtain school district records that are determined to be public under the provisions of the FOIA.  In order to maintain the effective functioning of a school district office or department, and for security reasons, certain conditions for reviewing or obtaining copies of records may apply. 

Requesting public records

Describe your request as specifically as possible.  If you are uncertain about which records contain the information you desire, provide a description of the type of information you are searching for, and every attempt will be made to locate the relevant records.   A great deal of information about the school district is available on our web site, and this information may help you formulate your request.

Please note that certain records are exempt from disclosure under FOIA or other statutes and are not available for public inspection (S.C. Code Section 30-40-4).  The school district is not required to create a public record when one does not exist.

FOIA Response Guidelines and Fee Schedule

All requests will be responded to within the time required by South Carolina law. The initial response will notify the requestor as to whether the requested information will be released or withheld due to a specific exemption in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). When possible, the BCSD will provide the requestor a time line of when information will be available, what information will be available, and what (if any) information the BCSD will not provide.

Minor procurement requests, such as requests for bid tabulations, will be answered by the Procurement Coordinator. 
Charges to requestors are as follows:

  • $0.06 per page for black and white copies;

  • $0.12 per page for color copies;

  • The actual costs of mailing copies;

  • The cost of an electronic media storage device (CD/flash drive/zip drive), should such a device be necessary to provide the records in the requested format; and

  • Actual time that an employee(s) must spend in order to comply with the request. The fee for the search, retrieval, or redaction of records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee who, in the reasonable discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and training to perform the request. If records are not in electronic format and the BCSD agrees to produce them in electronic format, the BCSD may also charge for the staff time required to transfer documents to electronic format.

The BCSD will not charge for incidental requests costing less than $10 to produce. The BCSD will not charge for the examination and review of documents to determine if they are subject to disclosure.  If fees are assessed, a 25 percent deposit will be required before work will begin on the FOIA request.  Any remaining fees must be paid before the completed request is released.

Requests for waivers of fees may be approved by the superintendent.

When germane to their job responsibilities, the following individuals will be copied on responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, unless they are minor procurement responses:

  • Superintendent;

  • General Counsel;

  • Director of Communications;

  • Chair of the Beaufort County Board of Education, if the request was directed to him/her; and

  • Other BCSD employees when requests concern their departments or schools. 

Making your request

All requests for information under FOIA must be submitted in writing to: Jennifer Staton, District Risk Manager, Beaufort County School District, 2900 Mink Point Blvd, P.O. Drawer 309, Beaufort, SC 29901-0309.

To assist you in filing a request, you may choose to print out a 
REQUEST FORM that can be filled out and mailed to the address listed above.  You can also choose to send your request via e-mail. The Information Request Form can be completed ONLINE.

Reviewing public records in person

If you ask to review original documents, we may request that you follow procedures to protect the integrity of public records:

  • You may be supervised by a school district employee within the area where the records are stored and/or maintained.

  • You may need to review records in a designated area or schedule a particular time of day so that day-to-day activities of that specific office or department are not disrupted.

Finding additional assistance

The South Carolina Press Association has developed a Citizen’s Guide to the Freedom of Information Act that explains the provisions of the law in simple, easy-to-understand language.  The SCPA website also provides the complete text of the FOIA.

Log of FOIA responses

The Beaufort County School District posts Freedom of Information Act requests and final responses online, excepting interim communications between the requester and the BCSD, if any. The BCSD does not post FOIA requests or responses that name individual students in contravention of federal privacy laws.