Kansas Open Records Act

Purpose of KORA

The Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) requires most records that are made or kept by public schools or community colleges to be open to the public.

This law makes openness the rule, but recognizes that there are times when individual privacy interests or competing public interests override the public right to know. Private individuals can bring an action in the district court to enforce their rights under the Kansas Open Records Act. Actions can also be brought by the county attorney, the district attorney, or the Kansas Attorney General. Although schools or community colleges can be fined for intentionally violating KORA, injunctions and other orders to enforce the purposes of KORA are the most common remedies.

Exemptions

KORA begins with the presumption that all public records should be open to the public, but allows certain exemptions from this requirement. Exceptions are included in the law because the legislature has determined the public right to know is outweighed by another important interest. The following list provides examples of the types of records which may be exempt under KORA. Not all exempt records are included in this representative list.

  • Records exempted by other law.
  • Records that are privileged undeer the rules of evidence.
  • Medical and treatment records.
  • Personnel records, except for the name of the employee, position held, salary and length of service.
  • The names of donors, if they have requested their name not be released.
  • Some emergency or security procedures.
  • Sealed bids until one is accepted or all are rejected.
  • Correspondences with a private individual.
  • Records containing information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

Your Right to Request Records

KORA grants the public the following rights:

  • The right to have our freedom of information officer respond to your questions about KORA.
  • The right to inspect any public record that we have in our possession that is not exempt. We are not required to create a record for you if the record does not already exist.
  • The right to have copies of public records, but we can charge a fee for making copies.
  • The right to be informed of the procedures you must follow in requesting access to or copies of our records.
  • The right to be informed or obtain copies of our records during our regular business hours.
  • The right to have access to a record not later than three business days after you request it.
  • The right to a written explanation of the reason we are denying you access to a record if we refuse to allow you access to a record.
  • The right to bring an action against us in the district court if you believe we are denying you access to a record you have the right to see.
  • The right to have your attorney’s fees paid by us if the court determines we intentionally violated your rights under KORA and had no reasonable basis for denying your request.

Our Responsibilities

Public schools have several responsibilities under KORA. We must:

  • Appoint a freedom of information officer who can answer questions and settle disputes under KORA.
  • Make facilities available to you for inspecting our records.
  • Allow you to make abstracts or have copies of our records made.
  • Adopt procedures for requesting access or obtaining copies of our records.
  • Act upon requests of records as soon as possible to give you an explanation of the reason for the delay. If there will be a delay, we must tell you the earliest time and place at which the record you are seeking will be made available.
  • Have a records custodian available during all regular business hours, and have procedures for allowing access on business days when regular office hours are not maintained.
  • Redact exempt information and provide you with the remainder of the record if the record contains both exempt and nonexempt material.
  • Provide you with a written statement, citing the specific provision of the law under which we are denying access, if we deny you access to a record and you ask for an explanation. The statement must be provided within three business days after you request it.

Procedures to Follow

The school district policy governing access to records of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools is outlined in the Board of Education Policy 1.3.4.0.0.

For purposes of access to school district records, the central office of U.S.D. 500 is:

KCKPS Central Office and Training Center
2010 N. 59th Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66104

Records are available for inspection or copying by members of the public at the Central Office during regular business hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the months of June and July, the Central Office closes at noon each Friday. Some records may be available for inspection at other locations.

A request for access to a public record should be directed to the custodian of the record. The custodian of the record may ask that you make the request in writing. Your request should include your name, your address and a description of the record to which you are seeking access.

If the record you are seeking falls within the exemption, the custodian may ask you to certify, in writing, why you believe you have a right to access the record. The custodian may also ask for certification that you will not use or sell the information for sales or solicitation purposes.

Upon receiving your request, the custodian of the record will retrieve the requested record and provide the record for your inspection as soon as possible.

If the custodian cannot provide you the record immediately, the custodian will inform you in writing of the time and place at which the record will first be made available to you.

You cannot remove the record from the building. The custodian will show you a place where you may look at the record. If you desire a copy of the record, please inform the custodian and a copy will be made. A fee of $.20 per copy applies and must be paid prior to the copying.

If the custodian does not grant the request, the person requesting the record shall receive a written explanation of the reason for the denial within three business days of their request, if an explanation is requested. If the requester disagrees with the explanation, the freedom of information officer shall settle the dispute.

For more information about our procedures, fees or office hours, please contact the custodian of the record. Or contact the district’s freedom of information officer:

Edwin Birch
Executive Director, Communications and Marketing

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
2010 N. 59th Street
Kansas City, KS 66104
(913) 279-2225

Official State KORA Brochure