What is a FOIA Request?
The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), MCL 15.231 - 15.246, provides for public access to certain public records, permits the charging of prescribed fees and deposits, and provides remedies and penalties for non-compliance. A person has a right to inspect, copy, or receive copies of certain requested public records. Some public records are permitted or required not to be disclosed. Fruitport Community Schools is a public body that must comply with the FOIA. The District has established procedures and guidelines, to implement the FOIA, effective July 1, 2015. For purposes of these procedures and guidelines, the terms outlined within these documents have the same meaning as defined in FOIA. Paper copies of these procedures and guidelines are available upon request by a visitor at the District's Administrative Building, located at 3255 E. Pontaluna Road, Fruitport, MI 49415.
How Long Does it Take to Receive a FOIA Request?
Initial Response – Within 5 Business Days (Business days = consecutive weekdays, other than Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays, regardless of when the particular district is open for public business)
Ways Fruitport Community Schools may respond:
- grant the request;
- issue a written denial notice;
- grant the request in part and deny it in part; or
- issue notice that extends the response time for no more than 10 business days. If Fruitport Community Schools claims this extension, it must respond by granting or denying the request within 15 business days of receiving the initial request
Is There a Cost Involved with a FOIA Request?
Fruitport Community Schools may charge labor costs per the list below:
The actual cost of labor of employees searching for, locating, examining, separating exempt and non-exempt material, redacting material.
- Hourly wage of lowest-paid employee who is capable of the work, regardless of who actually does the work
- Charge in 15-minute increments rounded down
If a non-employee separates exempt and non-exempt material or does the redaction:
- Maximum labor cost for those outsourced tasks = 6 times the state minimum wage
- No charge allowed if redacted version already exists
Fringe benefit and overtime costs can be added.
- Up to 50% to the applicable labor charge to cover the cost of fringe benefits associated with that labor
- Overtime can only be included if “over time is specifically stipulated” by the requestor
The cost of postage and paper used in copies may be charged.
- If requestor stipulates non-paper and the district has the technological capacity to comply, it must provide non-paper.
- If there is a cost associated with producing such a record, the “actual and most reasonably economical cost” of the media may be charged.
- If the paper is provided, the “actual total incremental cost” of the copies may be charged.
- Limits – no more than 10 cents/sheet, utilizing double-sided printing if economical and available
If materials are mailed, they will be sent in a “reasonably economical and justifiable manner”
- No charge for expedited mail or insurance unless stipulated by requestor
Deposits from requesters may be charged.
50/50 Rule – If the cost is estimated to be over $50, Fruitport Community Schools may charge a maximum deposit that is half of the total estimated fee.
Requestors with a history of nonpayment
- If Fruitport Community Schools has not been paid the costs of previous FOIA requests, it may require the requestor to make a 100% deposit before it begins fulfilling the request. See MCL 15. 234(11)-(13) for more details.
Sample FOIA Request
Click this link for a sample FOIA request letter.