Magazine article Information Management

In Massachusetts: $14K Too Much for Student Records

Magazine article Information Management

In Massachusetts: $14K Too Much for Student Records

Article excerpt

The Massachusetts public records division has ruled against Cambridge Public Schools' $14,000 charge for public information, admonishing the school district to charge a "reasonable" rate for a list of students.

In 2007, The Cambridge Chronicle requested under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) a list of Cambridge Public School students to be used for informational purposes only. The request was denied in a letter from the school's legal department that explained the work to pull together the requested information would cost the district $14,426.88. The letter also stated the school department would be further burdened because it would have to send letters to all parents, notifying them of the Chronicle's request.

However, the Chronicle's sister paper, the Newton TAB, requested the same information from Newton Public Schools at the same time. That school department sent the data free-of-charge within three weeks of the request.

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Federal law allows schools to disclose, without consent, directory information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, and awards. …

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