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Public Records

Public Records

How to File a Public Records Request

The Caldwell County School System welcomes your interest in public records. You may request public records by telephone, e-mail, in person, or in writing. We recommend you use the form below to expedite your request.

Caldwell County School electronic form for Public Records Request
Sample: methods are also available to request a Public Record:

  • Submit email requests to
  • Call 828.728.8407 ext. 120 to make your request by phone
  • Send fax requests to 828.728.0012. Please include the words “Public Records Request” on the cover sheet and attention to Community Services Department
  • Send written requests to: Libby Brown, Community Services Director, 1914 Hickory Blvd., SW, Lenoir NC 28645

Who can make a public records request?

Anyone is welcome to file a request for information. Public records may be inspected and examined at reasonable times and under reasonable supervision by any person. Copies of public record, upon payment of any fees, are furnished to the requester within a reasonable amount of time.

What is included in the definition of a public record?

According to NC General Statute Chapter 132 public records are all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data‑processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions. Agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions shall mean and include every public office, public officer or official (State or local, elected or appointed), institution, board, commission, bureau, council, department, authority or other unit of government of the State or of any county, unit, special district or other political subdivision of government.

What is Confidential Information?

According to North Carolina Law, some public records are not subject to public disclosure, such as:

  • Student records*
  • Personnel records (NC Gen. Stat. 115C-314)
  • Attorney/client communications
  • Trade Secrets
  • Account numbers, individual's signature, date of birth, drivers license number, social security number or other identifying information
  • Criminal investigation information
  • Emergency response plans
  • Hospital, medical, and professional counselor records
  • Certain financial records
  • Closed session minutes of board and board committee meetings until the disclosure of the minutes.

* The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that also protects the privacy of student records. For more information, visit the FERPA website.

The link is

Fees for Obtaining Public Records

The Caldwell County School System charges a reasonable fee for expenses associated with retrieving, copying, and supervising the examination of public records. The minimal fee is based on the actual cost of reproducing the public record of public information, to include the required supervision to maintain the integrity of the records.

  • $20/hour for actual time spent retrieving and copying documents and/or for supervising the examination of public records. There is no charge if the time spent on those tasks is less than one hour.
  • Additionally, 10 cents per page for copies if more than 15 pages must be copied to complete the request.
  • There is a minimum charge of $50 for records that must be extracted from computer databases. For requests that take more than one hour, the fee is $45/hour.

As a general rule, the Caldwell County School System requires advance payment of the estimated fee. Checks may be made payable to the Caldwell County Schools. An estimation of the cost is based on the volume of the request; the time required retrieving the requested records; and whether the records must be extracted from computer databases.

How long does it take to Process a Request?

Simple requests can be completed immediately or within 48 hours. However, North Carolina law allows for reasonable time to respond to public records requests. This includes time to determine whether a public record is also a confidential record that need not or cannot be released. The law states that public records are made available during customary office hours and a public agency is only required to provide copies of public records that exist.

What Happens After a Request is Made?

After you make a public records request, Community Services Libby Brown will acknowledge that request, usually through an e-mail.

Next, your public record is entered on the Public Records Request Log, including the date requested and a description of the request.

The request is also forwarded to the offices and individuals that may have documents that are responsive to the request. For simple requests, those offices are advised to retrieve the documents and return them to the Community Services Office, who contacts the Caldwell County Board of Education attorney to determine if any documents or portions of those documents should be redacted or withheld because they are confidential under law.

If there are no confidentiality issues or if confidential information can be redacted, the next step is to provide them to the requester in whatever form that person prefers.

If the entire document or documents requested are determined to be confidential, the requester will be notified that the document cannot be released, citing the appropriate section of North Carolina law.

Paying processing fees

All checks for public records requests should be made to the Caldwell County Schools. Payment is required before documents are retrieved. Any differences in the estimated cost and the actual costs are resolved prior to the documents being turned over.

Public Records Request Log

A Public Records Request Log will be maintained on the Caldwell County Schools website. The log will include the initial request date, the requester and a description of the request. Please be aware that requests for public records are themselves a public record. This means that the requester's name, request, and the documents provided are all subject to public disclosure.

Public Records Available Online

In an effort to provide the public information reflecting the successes and operations of the Caldwell County Schools, public information is posted on the Caldwell County Schools Website, such as the NC School Report Cards, Fact Sheets, Budget information, Board of Education policies and minutes, schedules and much more.


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