District approves revised public records policy
January 12, 2023
With the group’s first meeting of the new year, the Sweetwater County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees discussed a number of topics Tuesday night, including a revised public documents policy and a funding decline the district will see in the next school year.
The trustees approved a revised policy for people seeking public documents from the school district, which includes a revised fee schedule.
Wyoming’s public records laws allow for local governmental agencies to charge for the time and resources used in producing a document as a means of recouping those costs. However, a person has the right to inspect public documents, without having a copy made, free of charge under Wyoming law.
According to the district’s policy, after the request is made and fulfilled, the person seeking a review of those documents has one month to inspect the documents in person or request an electronic or physical copy of those records before the request is closed.
According to the policy, the production and construction costs for electronic public records includes $15.50 per hour for clerical staff time, $30 per hour for information technology staff time, $40 per hour for professional staff time, as well as the actual costs associated with computer services and the legal fees related to a review of documents for potential confidential information. A supervision fee related to a third-party making copies of the district’s public documents could also be incurred, based on the type of employee supervising.
Additionally, the district set up a per-page fee for physical copies of documents. The policy requires the district to provide an estimate of the costs associated with creating or copying the requested documents, with the person seeking those documents required to prepay prior to their creation. Any overage from the actual amount will be refunded. Additionally, the district will prioritize requests at or below a $180 threshold.
While speaking about the policy Tuesday night, Assistant Superintendent Jason Fuss said the district did not hear feedback about the policy prior to its passage. The last time the policy was revised was Oct. 10, 2017.
Also discussed at the meeting was an upcoming funding cut the district will be forced to contend with. Despite an increase of 41 students from last year, Sweetwater County School District No. 2 anticipates a $500,000 loss in funding from the state due to a historic decline in enrollment.
According to Superintendent Craig Barringer, the district will see that decline impact next year’s budget.
The district’s enrollment has declined from a high point 2,729 students during the 2013-2014 school year, to 2,406 in the current year. The most significant drop occurred between the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school years, which saw a decline in 185 students. In total, the district now has 323 fewer students than the 2013-2014 high point.
The school district is the 11th largest in the state. Its largest class is the 10th grade at Green River High School, which is made up of 224 students. The smallest is the district’s fourth grade, which is made up of 163 students.