Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code, also known as the Public Information Act (PIA), gives the public the right to access certain government records, including records that pertain to the operation of Life School’s open-enrollment charter schools. The PIA also establishes procedures for Life School and other governmental bodies must follow when responding to open records requests.
1. Your request must be in writing.
2. Include your complete contact information, especially an e-mail address if you have one.
3. Describe the documents, records, or data you are requesting.
We ask that your request be specific and include date ranges, if possible. We will work with you to clarify and narrow your request so that we can locate the records you are seeking. Be clear and concise. While we are not allowed to ask you why you are requesting information, we may ask you to clarify your request if we are uncertain as to what information you are seeking, and we may discuss with you how the scope of your request may be narrowed if your request is broad or for a large amount of information.
4. To expedite our response to your request, you may ask us to redact confidential information.
5. Your request should be for documents, records, or other data that is already in existence.
6. The PIA does not require us to answer questions, perform legal research, or comply with a continuing request to supply information on a periodic basis or information as they are prepared in the future.
7. By law, a request is considered to be received during regular business hours (between 8 AM - 4:30 PM) on a regular business day (not a state or federal holiday, school holiday, closure or skeleton crew day).
What Happens after you Submit a Request?
We respond to requests in the order that they are received.
We are required to promptly release the information that is not confidential or that does not fall within one of the exceptions from disclosure under the PIA.
The PIA allows agencies up to ten (10) business days to respond to your request. The response could be that we release parts or all the records, that we have no records responsive to your request, that clarification is needed, that we have estimated charges, that we believe the records are confidential and have requested a ruling on the records from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), or that we need additional time to locate, compile, or manipulate the data/records.
What Types of Information are Confidential?
Some of our records contain information that may be confidential and excepted from public disclosure. Some types of information that the PIA or the OAG have identified as confidential include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Information that may identify a student (unless you have a right of access)
• Social Security Numbers of a living person
• Credit reports, access codes, account numbers
• Personal e-mail addresses of members of the public
• Certain financial or medical information
• Home addresses, phone numbers, and family member information of Life School employees
• Certain trade secret or proprietary information submitted by vendors or companies with whom Life School has a contractual or business relationship.
Other information that may not be released include, but is not limited to, the following:
Requesting records that contain information that may identify a student
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), Life School is required to withhold from public disclosure personally identifiable information in education records.
Prior to the releasing of public information, we will remove all personally Identifiable Information.
Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to—
o The student's name, initials, age, grade;
o The name of the student's parent or other family members;
o The address of the student or student's family;
o Names of school personnel and providers of educational services;
o Personal identifiers, such as the student's social security number, student number, or biometric record;
o Other indirect identifiers, such as the student's date of birth, place of birth, and mother's maiden name;
o Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or
o Information requested by a person who we reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.
(Authorities: 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 CFR 99.3)
The student or parents of a minor student may consent to release his/her education records and/or other information to a third-party for a defined purpose.
Life School must receive proper authorization and identification of persons with a right to access student information before releasing any information that may identify a student. Any information that may identify a student must be transmitted through secured means, including Secured Encrypted E-mail and/or may be password protected.
The eligible student or person authorized may give consent to disclose education records and/or other information to a third-party for a defined purpose.
Are There Charges for Requesting Records?
Life School may charge for responding to a public information request as permitted under the PIA (see the PIA request form below). As required by the PIA, we will provide a written statement of estimated charges when charges are expected to exceed $40, in advance of work being started. You must respond to a written statement of estimated charges in excess of $40 within 10 business days of the date it is sent to you, or the request is considered automatically withdrawn under the PIA.
We will work with you to minimize costs. For example, we may be able to provide records electronically to save copying and labor charges. Extensive data and information may be readily accessible from Life School's website, and records may also be inspected in person at Life School's headquarters in certain instances.
How to submit your Request
To request information from Life School, please contact: Bryon Ding
You may send your request -- Form
Visitors must register at:
Life School Central Office
132 E. Ovilla Rd., Suite A
Red Oak, TX 75154
Complaints about Life School open records
If you believe that we have not responded as required by the PIA, we ask to have the opportunity to investigate and resolve your complaint through our complaint resolution process. Please contact Bryon Ding with any concerns. However, you have the right to file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s Office through the Open Records Division. Please be sure to include with your complaint a copy of your original request for information and any other supporting documentation.
A complaint of overcharges must be filed no later than ten business days after the requestor knows of the occurrence of the alleged overcharge. Be sure to include a copy of the original request and any correspondence from the governmental body stating the charges. Complaints may be sent directly to the Cost Rules Administrator of the Open Records Division.
Approved by Board of Directors: March 9, 2016