Freedom of Information Act Requests

  • Horry County Schools is committed to conducting business in an open manner and making it possible for the public to have access to records in accordance with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Chapter 4, Title 30, Code of Laws of South Carolina.

     The S.C. Freedom of Information Act (Section 30-4-20) defines the “public record” as “all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body.”

    All requests for records under the FOIA should be submitted in writing to: Horry County Schools Public Information Officer, P.O. Box 260005, Conway, S.C. 29526 or by email to: pio@horrycountyschools.net or by submitting an online form by clicking on the online FORM link below. 

     Making A FOIA Request

     An online FORM is available below for requesters. All FOIA request should include the following information:

    • Name
    • Address
    • Email address
    • Telephone number
    • Detailed description of the public records requested
    • Date of request
    • Affiliation and whether or not the information will be used for commercial solicitation
    • Justification if requesting waiver from fees

    Exemptions and Prohibitions

    FOIA provides public access to existing non-exempt records. The law does not require creation or generation of records that do not exist. Certain records may be exempted from release by the FOIA, and those exemptions are specified in S.C. Code Section 30-4-40.

    Please note that South Carolina law (FOIA Section 30-2-50) prohibits the obtaining or use of public records for commercial solicitation directed at any person.

    Timelines

    Under the FOIA, the district has 10 business days (excluding weekends and holidays) to notify the requester of its determination as to the public availability of the public record requested. Following that notification, the district has 30 calendar days to actually produce the records relative to the FOIA request. For records that are more than 24 months old, the initial notification deadline is 15 business days, and records must be produced within 35 calendar days. All those deadlines may be extended by mutual agreement of the requester and the district.

    Fees

    The FOIA Section 30-4-30 (B) allows the school district to charge “reasonable fees” for the “search, retrieval, or redaction of records.” The fees must represent the “lowest possible cost” and cannot exceed the actual costs of performing the FOIA request and making copies. If it is determined that the information requested is “primarily benefitting the general public,” fees can be reduced or waived. A deposit “not to exceed 25 percent of the total reasonably anticipated costs” will be required prior to searching for or making copies of records. The requester has the right to receive an electronic transmission of the public record if those records are in an electronic format or if they can be produced in an electronic format. Fees may be charged for search time, but no copy charges will apply to documents in an electronic format. Any applicable fees must be paid prior to receipt of the requested records.

    Horry County Schools has established the following fees for requests under the FOIA:

    • An hourly fee (prorated) for the lowest compensated employee who can complete the request
    • Copying costs of 15 cents per page
    • The district may require a 25% deposit for FOIA requests that are estimated to cost more than $100.00 to produce. The remaining balance must be paid prior to receiving requested records.
    • Fees may be reduced or waived if it is determined that the information requested is primarily benefiting the general public, according to the FOIA Section 30-4-30 (C).