November 13, 2017
Recently, the General Assembly amended the Illinois School Student Records Act to alter the timeline for responding to records requests. For those of you familiar with responding to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, you will recognize some striking similarities.
First, the deadline for responding to a student, parent, or designated representative’s request for records was reduced from 15 school days to 10 business days. Second, the amendments allow a school district to extend the time to respond up to five business days from the original due date for any of the following reasons:
The requested records are stored in whole or in part at other locations than the office having charge of the requested records;
The request requires the collection of a substantial number of specified records;
The request is couched in categorical terms and requires an extensive search for the records responsive to it;
The requested records have not been located in the course of routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them;
The request for records cannot be complied with by the school district within 10 business days without unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the school district; or
There is a need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another public body or school district or among 2 or more components of a public body or school district having a substantial interest in the determination or in the subject matter of the request.
Finally, the amendments allow school districts to agree in writing with a student, parent, or designated representative on a separate timeframe for responding to the request, if the request cannot be completed within the timeframe set forth in the law.
If you need assistance in responding to a records request, we welcome you to contact your attorney at Scariano, Himes and Petrarca.