Public records requests under FOIA

School districts sometimes receive requests for public records citing the federal Freedom of Information Act, or "FOIA."

Are school districts in Ohio, political subdivisions of the State, subject to the Freedom of Information Act? The answer is no.

Dependent eligibility audits for school district health plans

Effective January 1, 2009, the School Employee Health Care Board (SEHCB) outlined four best practice standards, which are codified in Section 3306-2-03 of the Administrative Code. The fourth of these standards addresses dependent eligibility audits and requires all health plan sponsors offering health care plans to employees of a public school district to conduct periodic dependent eligibility audits and send the aggregate results of the audit to the SEHCB.

Can we buy a jammer to cut cell phones in certain areas of a school?

So-called "jammers" block the signals of telecommunications devices so that they do not function in certain areas. Given the proliferation of cell phones in schools, many educators would love to have an "off" switch they could flip in classrooms or during testing periods. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) takes the position that the use of jammers violates the Communication Act of 1934. Its Web site states:

Financial disclosure deadline approaching

We're back from our brief technology-induced hiatus and, according to the calendar, it's almost time for financial disclosure statement filing. The Ohio Ethics Laws require certain public officials and employees to file annual financial disclosure statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission. The deadline to file the forms is April 15th. Who needs to file? All district treasurers, superintendents, and business managers must file the forms. School board members in districts with ADM in excess of 12,000 must file as well.

Does HIPAA or FERPA apply to student health information?

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act of 1996 and its regulations contain a Privacy Rule that requires covered health care providers to keep health information confidential. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) covers students enrolled in elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools that receive federal funding. It requires school districts to keep confidential students' personally identifiable information other than directory information.