Departments

Public Records Requests:

All public records should be made to the Talawanda Treasurer, located in the Talawanda Board of Education (513) 273-3100.

ODE Public Records Policy

Overview of Ohio’s Public Records Act

 

  • Ohio’s Public Records Act states that any person may request to inspect or obtain copies of public records.  The Act can be found in section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code.
  • A person does not need to let the public office know the purpose of his or her request, provide his or her name, or make the request in writing
  • However, a request must be for “public records,” which are defined as “records kept by a public office” that “document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office.”
  • A request for a copy of an employment contract or evaluation is a proper request
  • However, a public office only has an obligation to produce records that are “kept” by it.  So, a request for a 40-year-old document that was previously destroyed in accordance with the law can properly be denied
  • Likewise, a request for information rather than a record is not a proper public records request
  • A request must be clear and specific enough so that the public office can identify the records being sought.  Requests that are ambiguous or overly broad can be denied.  
  • Examples of ambiguous or overly broad requests include requests seeking all records containing particular names or words; all emails sent or received by a particular email address with no subject matter or time limitation; the duplication of all records having to do with a particular topic
  • A public office must produce public records within a reasonable period of time
  • The law does not include a specific timeframe that records must be produced by.  There is nothing in the law that says records must be produced within 48 hours or another timeframe
  • That is because all requests are different.  A reasonable period of the time for one request might be much shorter than a reasonable period of time for another request.  Courts have held that whether records have been produced within a reasonable period of time depends on the facts and circumstances of each request
  • For example, a request to produce a copy of an employment contract can and should be fulfilled quickly, usually within a matter of a couple of days
  • However, a request for records that are stored off-site; a request for records that must be reviewed for redactions by legal counsel; or a request for a voluminous amount of records will take more time to fulfill
  • The Act excludes certain records from disclosure such as student records, safety and security plans, and records that are subject to the attorney-client privilege.

 

    • A public office must inform a requester of the legal authority it is relying on when records are withheld or redacted pursuant to an exclusion
  • This overview is not intended to be all inclusive.  For more information on the Ohio Public Records Act, please refer to the Ohio Sunshine Law Manual that is produced each year by the Ohio Attorney General.  It can be accessed on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.