About Public Records
What is a Public Record?
A Public Record is any document, kept in the course of a normal business day. Section 119.011(11), F.S. defines “public records” as all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, audio recordings, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any public agency. For more information, please see Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual.
Public Records Request Acknowledgment
The School District of Manatee County (SDMC) promptly acknowledges each public records request that is received. If you make a request and do not receive an acknowledgment within a short time, please contact a Public Records Associate to verify your public records request was received.
Agencies are obligated to respond to public records requests within a reasonable time. The time required to respond to each request varies greatly depending on the scope and size of the request. This process often involves coordinating with several departments to satisfy the request.
What is Not A Public Records Request?
Various types of records are considered exempt and/or confidential and therefore, not available through a public records request. Specific statutory exemptions are contained throughout Florida Statutes. To view these exemptions, please visit www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes.
Florida’s public records law does not obligate agencies to create records. It requires agencies to make available to the public copies of the records it already has. One thing to remember about a public record is that a record must exist in order for it to be provided.
Florida’s public records law obligates agencies to provide copies of public records. It does not require agencies to “explain” records or answer questions based on the records’ content.