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OSSE Open Government and FOIA

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, DC Code §§ 2-531-539, states that any person has the right to request access to records. All public bodies of the District government are required to disclose public records, except for those records, or portions of records, that are protected from disclosure by the exemptions found at DC Code § 2-534.

A FOIA request may be made for any public record. This does not mean, however, that the public body will disclose every record sought. Statutory exemptions authorize the withholding of certain public records. When the public body does withhold records or portions of records, it must specify which exemption of the FOIA permits the withholding. FOIA does not require agencies to do research, to analyze data, to answer written questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request. FOIA only requires the agency to make a reasonable effort to locate already existing records.

Individual student information or records related to that student will not be released under FOIA. If you want to request your student’s educational records, please submit a record request form through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

How to Submit a FOIA Request

A FOIA request may be submitted online via the DC government Public FOIA Portal. FOIA requests submitted through the FOIA Portal are easier to track and process.

Describe the record(s) you are seeking as clearly and precisely as possible. In your description, please be as specific as possible with regard to names, dates, places, events, subjects, and other pertinent details that will help the agency to identify the records. The more specific you are about the records you are seeking, the more likely the agency will be able to locate those records. If your request is vague or too broad, we may ask you to be more specific, and this may delay the processing of your request.

Open Government Material

The District is committed to a transparent, open form of government. District agency websites are required to make certain records available online to the public, if those records exist. In cases where these records exist but are not yet available online, agencies are working to provide them as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact the agency’s FOIA Officer.

Frequently Requested Public Records

Agency Performance and Reporting

Fiscal Reporting and Transparency

OSSE Regulations

Other Agency Determinations of the Rights of the Public

Annual Chief FOIA Officer Reports

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

If you are a parent looking for your child’s records, please submit your request using our Records Request form.

FOIA Officer

The FOIA Officer is the principal contact point within OSSE for advice and policy guidance on matters pertaining to the administration of FOIA. All requests are handled professionally and expeditiously. Please contact Mona Patel, FOIA Officer at [email protected] if you have additional questions.