How much can the school charge for a copy of the record?
Federal and Massachusetts law require that the copy fee be reasonable, no more than the school's actual cost, and not so high that it effectively prevents the parents from exercising their right to inspect and review those records.
How much is a reasonable rate in Massachusetts?
There is no state-wide policy in Massachusetts; rates vary by district. Here's some guidance:
- 10 Cents? In 2004, a Hearing Officer upheld a 10 cents per page fee as reasonable for an individual making $500/month.
- 20 Cents? In 2005, the Massachusetts Department of Education contemplated a 20 cents per page fee as reasonable, guided (but not governed) by the maximum allowable fee for copies of public records.
- 25 Cents or MORE? Since 2009, the maximum allowable fee for copies of public records in Massachusetts has been 20 cents per page for photocopies and 50 cents per page for computer printouts. While this rule does not govern educational records, it might be considered persuasive by a hearing officer.
So how to I get a copy of my child's records without breaking the bank?
- Ask for a copy of the District's fee policy before you request copies of your child's records.
- Specify what type of documents you want copies of (IEPs, discipline reports, evaluations) and what documents you don't need (attendance, immunization reports, report cards, anything more than four years old).
- Before the school begins copying, ask for a detailed fee estimate.
If you believe the fee is too high, try negotiating with the school. If that doesn't work, contact the Boston area Law Office of Lillian E. Wong today.