Lander schools first to adopt copy cost guidelines

Feb 17, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

Since a law went into effect recently allowing government agencies to charge "a reasonable cost" for digital public documents, Fremont County School District 1 in Lander has implemented a new policy instituting fees for inspection, copying and production of records.

Wyoming laws have always allowed for a "reasonable charge" for physically copying public records, but in a 3-2 vote Nov. 30 the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that government agencies may also charge members of the public a fee to look at documents existing only in electronic form.

At its most-recent meeting, the FCSD 1 Board of Trustees approved the new policy addressing costs for electronic public records.

The policy states the district will only implement the cost after the requester reaches an amount of $500.

Board chairman Brett Berg said the original policy set the amount at $100, but the number was raised because it was important to the board to be transparent.

"We do not want to prohibit anyone from getting what they want just because they can't afford it," Berg said. "We wanted to set a price though so the district did not go broke trying to accommodate a large request if there should be one."

According to the district's policy, charges may cover, but are not limited to, the time spent retrieving, compiling, sorting, reviewing, redacting, formatting, converting or copying the electronic public records, as well as activities associated with creating or constructing new electronic public records from existing sources, and all associated programming and computer services.

The costs include $15.50 per hour for clerical staff time, $30 per hour for information technology staff time, $40 per hour for professional staff time, actual cost of programming and computer services and actual cost of necessary legal fees incurred to review documents to ensure protection of information that is classified as confidential by law.

The person requesting the public records must pre-pay the district.

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