In a July 12, 2011 letter, Government Records Council (GRC) Executive Director Catherine Starghill advised a South Jersey school district that it could not require records requestors to schedule an appointment before stopping by to make an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request unless the district’s enrollment does not exceed 500 pupils.

Starghill’s letter was in response to a complaint from local activist John Schmidt who complained that he had stopped by the Gloucester City (Camden County) school district’s offices on June 1, 2011 to make an OPRA request but was told that he needed to first schedule an appointment. In his letter, Schmidt pointed out that N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(e) provides citizens with “immediate access . . . to budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts” and other records and that the district’s policy of requiring people to first schedule an appointment unduly burdens that statutory right.

Starghill’s and Schmidt’s correspondence is on-line here.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]