Laserfiche Solution Contributed By: David Covert, Enterprise Applications Supervisor, Bonneville Joint School District No. 93
With nearly 12,000 students enrolled in 24 schools in Bingham and Bonneville Counties, Bonneville Joint School District No. 93 (D93) is the fifth largest school district in Idaho.
D93 has 14 elementary schools, three middle schools, and four high schools, including two comprehensive high schools, an alternative high school and a magnet school. D93 also offers curriculum online through Bonneville Online. The district employs over 1,600 people, of whom nearly 600 are certificated personnel.
The district receives around 100 public records requests annually, but the recent building of a new high school caused the number of requests for records to significantly increase. State law required that the district provide the information requested within 10 working days, which was a challenging deadline with a paper-based system.
In the past, requestors had to fill out a paper form, which the board clerk walked around to different departments in order to collect the requested information. If someone was out of the office, the information couldn’t be obtained until they returned.
Here is how Bonneville Joint School District No. 93 made the public records requests process completely electronic with Laserfiche Forms and Workflow.
Public Records Request Process
The new public records request process is as follows:
- Once the request is submitted by a citizen, it is sent to the board clerk for initial review. The date that the clerk opens the form is saved in the form and is the date that is used for calculating the 10 day timeframe during which the requested information must be provided to the citizen.
- The board clerk calculates the 10 day deadline (excluding weekends and school holidays) and inputs it into the form. She also notes the departments that will provide the information.
- Once the form is submitted, the superintendent, assistant superintendents and the HR director are all notified and receive a copy of the request.
- The requestor is also notified with an email which includes the date by which the information will be available.
- The request gets forwarded to a representative of the appropriate department. If the finance department is selected, for example, the finance administrator is notified. All of the information in the request is included in the email body, so that the representative does not need to open the actual form to view it.
- Once reading the request, the department representative forwards the email to the member of the department who can answer the question or gather the documentation and upload it to a network drive.
- Once the information or documentation is obtained, the department representative updates the form with the answer to the question and uploads any files. She can then mark it as complete or send it to a different department for more information. If, for some reason she thinks the request is invalid, she can also delete it.
- If the public records request results in over 100 pages of documents and/or over two hours of staff time, then there is a possibility of a charge for the information.
- The department representative inputs the number of hours and copies that will be required into the form and the total cost is automatically calculated based on Idaho state law. This action holds the request for payment.
- If there is a payment hold on the requested information, Laserfiche Forms sends an email to the requestor with the payment information included. The board clerk is also notified to be on the lookout for payment.
- If, after seeing the payment amount, the requestor decides to cancel the request, the board clerk can terminate it. This triggers an email to the requestor and department representative.
- If the requestor submits payment, the board clerk marks the form as paid and the request is sent back through the various departments who provide the information.
- All requests are saved to Laserfiche – including those that are denied or terminated.
Once the approved request is saved in Laserfiche with all relevant documentation uploaded, Laserfiche Workflow sends them to the requestor with all documents attached.
Benefits of Laserfiche
Automating the public records request process with Laserfiche has resulted in the following benefits for D93:
- How fast a public record request was fulfilled used to depend on a person’s in office availability. Now, if a person is out of the office, the request can be quickly forwarded to someone else via email.
- Requestors are kept in the loop throughout the whole process, creating a better customer service experience.
- Handling of public records request is more streamlined. The board clerk does not need to forward the paper request to various departments manually.