How to Make A Public Records Request

  • According to Florida Statute Section 119.97(b): Requests for public records do not need to be in writing, nor do they need to be made in person. For your convenience, you may submit a public records request with our online form.

    Please note: Florida has a very broad Public Records Law. Virtually all written communications to or from School District Personnel are public records available to the public and media upon request. E-mail sent or received on the school district systems will be considered public and will only be withheld from disclosure if deemed confidential pursuant to State law.

What is a Public Record?

  • A Public Record is any document, kept in the course of a normal business day. Section 119.011(11), F.S. defines “public records” as all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, audio recordings, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any public agency. For more information, please see Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual.

    Please note: Student records are NOT public records. Please visit our Student Records page for information on how to request your student record.

    Public Records Request Acknowledgment
    Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) promptly acknowledges each public records request that is received. If you make a request and do not receive an acknowledgment within a short time, please contact a Public Records Associate to verify your public records request was received.

    Request Deadlines
    Agencies are obligated to respond to public records requests within a reasonable time. The time required to respond to each request varies greatly depending on the scope and size of the request. This process often involves coordinating with several departments to satisfy the request.

What is Not A Public Records Request?

  • Exempt Records
    Various types of records are considered exempt and/or confidential and therefore, not available through a public records request. Specific statutory exemptions are contained throughout Florida Statutes. To view these exemptions, please visit

    Please note: Internal surveillance video of school sites is exempt from disclosure as it relates to security systems put in place by the district. Additionally, student records are NOT public records. Please visit our Student Records page for information on how to request your student record.

    Creating Records
    Florida’s public records law does not obligate agencies to create records. It requires agencies to make available to the public copies of the records it already has. One thing to remember about a public record is that a record must exist in order for it to be provided.

    Answering Questions
    Florida’s public records law obligates agencies to provide copies of public records. It does not require agencies to “explain” records or answer questions based on the records’ content.

Public Records Request Fees

  • Charges to Obtain Records
    One-sided copies up to 8.5" x 14" will be charged at $0.15 each.
    Two-sided copies up to 8.5" x 14" will be charged at $0.20 each.

    Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) may impose a reasonable service charge for the actual cost of extensive labor and technology required. We must review every email/document for any personally identifiable information that is exempt from public records law. If there is exempt information, it will be redacted (removed).

    HCPS charges for requests that consume more than 30 minutes of time to complete. This is at the rate of the lowest-paid employee capable of completing the job. 

    When multiple requests are made by one individual, they will be considered as one request, and extensive use charges will be applied after the first thirty (30) minutes.

    Payment is required before the request will be processed.

    Reduced Labor Costs
    Narrowing and making your public records request as specific as possible may reduce the extensive labor costs. Narrowing down requests to keywords or phrases instead of open-ended terms such as “any and all records.” Also, narrowing a request to certain individuals or a particular time frame or date range can greatly reduce the use of extensive labor.

    Broadly Stated Requests
    Sometimes a request is too broad for HCPS to identify records responsive to your request. In such instances, the Public Records Associate may request if it can be clarified or revised to be more specific. If your request is broad and results in a large volume of responsive records, you may be invoiced and assessed costs according to Florida Statutes Chapter 119.

    Closing Requests
    Public records requests will be closed if the requesting party fails to pay the final or good faith deposit invoice or fails to respond to clarification inquiries pertaining to a public records request for thirty (30) days following the issuance of the invoice or clarification inquiry. A non-responsive request may be resubmitted and will be processed as a new request.