Public Record Request for Public Employee Salary Data

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska is conducting what they

describe as a “statewide survey about sex education courses as well as

district policies relating to pregnant and parenting students.” The

organization has send a lengthy public records request asking for a laundry

list of documents related to sex education; school policies and practices

related to pregnant and parenting students; and agencies to whom schools

refer pregnant and parenting students. The ACLU letter concludes by stating

that “[a]s you might know, Nebraska open records requests must be

provided within four (4) days of receipt of this letter, but we are willing to

give you fourteen (14) days to provide these materials.”

Response Within Four Business Days.   We have reviewed ACLU

Nebraska’s letter and have consulted with the Nebraska Attorney General’s

Office about it. We are advising KSB clients that this is a valid public records

request which requires a response. However, we do NOT believe that the

ACLU has the power to unilaterally change the statutory timeline in the

Nebraska Public Records Act. Therefore, every school that received this

request today will have to respond no later than Monday, July 11.

The Public Records Act states that if the entire request cannot with

reasonable good faith efforts be fulfilled within four business days “due to

the significant difficulty or the extensiveness of the request,” you can

instead communicate back to the requester. That communication should

include a written explanation of why, including the earliest practicable date

for fulfilling the request, an estimate of the expected cost of any copies, and

an opportunity for the requester to modify or prioritize the items within the


Cornhusker Plaza P: (402) 804-8000

301 S. 13 th St., Suite 210 F: (402) 804-8002

Lincoln, NE 68508

Fees for Gathering and Copying These Documents.  As we read

the ACLU’s requests, we believe it is highly likely that you will have to reach

out to every teacher in the district to ascertain whether they teach any unit

it will take your staff more than four hours to search, identify, redact or copy

these documents, you can charge for that staff time. NEB. REV. STAT. § 84-

712(3)(c). Alternatively, if you decide to pay a third party (an independent

contractor or even your educational service unit) to search your computer or

paper files and gather these documents, you can charge for all of that

additional expense. You may also charge a fee for your actual costs (e.g.

copying, printing, computer analysis) in responding. You are, however,

prohibited from charging the requester for the cost of your attorney

reviewing the public records response.  

Deposit.  You may request a deposit prior to producing the records if

you reasonably calculate that the total fee (including copying, staff, and

contractor costs) for providing the records would exceed $50.00. Mr. Fox

will then have 10 days either to narrow the scope of his request or to

provide you with the requested deposit.

If you would like assistance in preparing a response to Mr. Fox or if

you have questions about the public records statutes in general, you should

consult with your school district’s attorney or call Karen, Steve, or Bobby.