Transparency, Compliance, and FOIA Requests

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Transparency is at the core of any government institutions responsibility to the public. As the Business Manager of your School district you’re well aware the most important part of that is timely compliance with Freedom of Information Law requests.

Whether its a taxpayer looking for information on how your district is spending its money, a local news outlet doing a story on government salaries, or a union engaged in contract negotiations, the timely response from your school district will go a long way toward earning the confidence of taxpayers.

The problem is, filling these document requests can be extremely time-consuming if your school district isnt prepared to handle them.

No district has time to dedicate clerical staff needed elsewhere to dig through filing cabinets for the documents related to last years capital project, just because someone was curious about it. Not to mention, the human element of searching can be problematic. If an employee misses something, what began as an honest mistake can later look like your district was intentionally withholding information the public has a right to know.

Datamation has the solution: document scanning and a searchable database of all district information.

The local newspaper wants to know the average salary of a district employee? One simple search will return every W2 you sent out last year.

A taxpayer is curious about how much the superintendent is being paid? No need to walk to the bosss office and ask for a copy of his contract. A scanned and searchable version of it is already in the database Datamation has created. Just download a copy and send it on its way.

No doubt youre aware under Freedom of Information Act that a public entity is required to respond to FOIA requests within five business days of its receipt. Unanswered FOIA requests are a big no-no, and look bad for the district.

So what if the district clerk is on vacation or, worse, a long-term leave? Document forwarding can ensure those requests are not ignored just because the initial point of contact is unavailable when they arrive.

A fully automated workflow can also classify those requests, log their input into the system, forward them to the appropriate individuals attention and create notifications if a FOIA request is approaching the five-day requirement without having been addressed.

As a school district entrusted with public funds for the express purpose of educating the children in your community, one of the most important things you can do is make a genuine effort at transparency and accountability. The timely and accurate response to document requests from the public is not only a legal requirement, but a central part of governments mission to serve the taxpayer.

You can meet those requirements on time, and with minimal loss to office productivity — provided you invest in the tools to make it happen. An automated workflow and electronic document management will show your community youre doing the publics work, and youre doing it well.