Costs and Response Time
While many public records are available at no cost and in a short amount of time (including immediately for items posted on our web site), state law does allow public entities to charge for the actual costs associated with compiling records. This page explains DMPS practices on the costs of fulfilling public records requests as well as the time it takes to do so.
IS THERE A COST?
Most DMPS public records are available and provided free of charge. Examples include records accessible on the district’s web site; public records that are already compiled in the way requested; and public records that require three hours or less to assemble and to review to protect confidential information.
Iowa law does allow that persons requesting public records may be charged a fee for the actual costs of the retrieval and review of records, supervision of the examination of records, and for copying records.
Examples of actual costs for public record requests to DMPS may include:
- Copies: there is no charge for the first 50 pages of photocopies. After that, there is a charge of 10 cents per single-sided sheet and 20 cents per double-sided sheet.
- $46/hour for data retrieval or records that require special processing to format, edit, or compile. This includes searches of emails and financial records.
- $55/hour for the review and supervision of documents that may include student information, personnel information, or other information that may be redacted under state law.
- Up to $25/hour for staff to retrieve, assemble and/or photocopy requested public records.
- Postage will be charged, at cost, if it exceeds $1.
- There is a flat fee of $10 for a DVD of programming that aired on DMPS-TV. Click here for information on ordering a DVD or visit www.youtube.com/dmpstv to view DMPS-TV programs online (with the exception of School Board meetings).
Please note that it is the practice of DMPS to waive the cost for three hours of work to comply with a public records request.
If there is any cost associated with a request, DMPS will provide an estimate. If the estimate is agreed to, the district will require payment when the public records are provided or in advance if the estimate is more than $250. In addition, work will not begin on the request until the estimate is approved or paid, depending upon the amount, by the requestor. A requestor may always amend their request in order to lessen or even eliminate any cost.
HOW LONG TO GET A RESPONSE?
Most public records requests have a short response time. Obviously public records available on the DMPS web site are available immediately, and other records that are already compiled but not available online are typically provided within a couple of days.
Iowa law does allow that the response to public records request “should not exceed” 10 business days and “shall not exceed” 20 calendar days. Iowa law also provides for a reasonable and good faith delay if there are certain legal questions pertaining to the records being requested.
WHAT ABOUT PREVIOUS REQUESTS?
It is the practice of Des Moines Public Schools to retain records resulting from previously completed public records requests for 30 days. During that time they are in the public domain and available with no charge for record retrieval or review (photocopying charges will apply, if applicable). After that time, any subsequent requests for the same records will be treated as a new public records request.