Right to Know
Access to Governmental Records - NH RSA 91-A
The state of New Hampshire’s Right to Know law, RSA 91-A:1-a, provides access to the public to governmental records, with some exceptions. Under the law, members of the public may request access to governmental records, which in the case of SAU23 are referred to as “district records.” Below, you can find the simplified process of filing a Right to Know request with SAU23.
Filing a Right to Know request
You can submit a Right to Know request to SAU23 for district records that are not already publicly available. We prefer that requests be submitted using our online form, but you may also use our paper form or request records via email.
Please be as clear as possible about the record(s) you are requesting, being sure to include all relevant information including dates.
Laurie Melanson, Superintendent, SAU23. firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens after you file a request
The district will review the request and acknowledge receipt within 5 business days.
If necessary, the district will ask for clarification or advise that request must be narrowed.
If the records requested are deemed public, they will be made available for review.
If records aren't available for immediate release, the school district will:
a. Make the records available within 5 business days
b. Deny the request in writing with the specific exemption authorizing the withholding and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld; or
c. Provide a written acknowledgment of the request and a statement of the time necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied.
Public records can be made available for inspection at the district office. Records can also be sent using email, or loaded on a USB flash drive (you must provide the drive unopened in packaging). Alternately, records can be provided in paper form, however the district will charge $0.25 per page for printing/copying.
91-A:1 Preamble. – Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.
91-A:1-a Definitions. –
91-A:2 Meetings Open to Public. –
91-A:3 Nonpublic Sessions. –
III. Minutes of meetings in nonpublic session shall be kept and the record of all actions shall be promptly made available for public inspection, except as provided in this section. Minutes of such sessions shall record all actions in such a manner that the vote of each member is ascertained and recorded. Minutes and decisions reached in nonpublic session shall be publicly disclosed within 72 hours of the meeting, unless, by recorded vote of 2/3 of the members present taken in public session, it is determined that divulgence of the information likely would affect adversely the reputation of any person other than a member of the public body itself, or render the proposed action ineffective, or pertain to terrorism, more specifically, to matters relating to the preparation for and the carrying out of all emergency functions, developed by local or state safety officials that are directly intended to thwart a deliberate act that is intended to result in widespread or severe damage to property or widespread injury or loss of life. This shall include training to carry out such functions. In the event of such circumstances, information may be withheld until, in the opinion of a majority of members, the aforesaid circumstances no longer apply. For all meetings held in nonpublic session, where the minutes or decisions were determined to not be subject to full public disclosure, a list of such minutes or decisions shall be kept and this list shall be made available as soon as practicable for public disclosure. This list shall identify the public body and include the date and time of the meeting in nonpublic session, the specific exemption under paragraph II on its face which is relied upon as foundation for the nonpublic session, the date of the decision to withhold the minutes or decisions from public disclosure, and the date of any subsequent decision, if any, to make the minutes or decisions available for public disclosure. Minutes related to a discussion held in nonpublic session under subparagraph II(d) shall be made available to the public as soon as practicable after the transaction has closed or the public body has decided not to proceed with the transaction.
91-A:4 Minutes and Records Available for Public Inspection. –
VII. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require a public body or agency to compile, cross-reference, or assemble information into a form in which it is not already kept or reported by that body or agency.
91-A:5 Exemptions. –
91-A:6 Employment Security. – This chapter shall apply to RSA 282-A, relative to employment security; however, in addition to the exemptions under RSA 91-A:5, the provisions of RSA 282-A:117-123 shall also apply; this provision shall be administered and construed in the spirit of that section, and the exemptions from the provisions of this chapter shall include anything exempt from public inspection under RSA 282-A:117-123 together with all records and data developed from RSA 282-A:117-123.
91-A:7 Violation. – Any person aggrieved by a violation of this chapter may petition the superior court for injunctive relief. In order to satisfy the purposes of this chapter, the courts shall give proceedings under this chapter high priority on the court calendar. Such a petitioner may appear with or without counsel. The petition shall be deemed sufficient if it states facts constituting a violation of this chapter, and may be filed by the petitioner or his or her counsel with the clerk of court or any justice thereof. Thereupon the clerk of court or any justice shall order service by copy of the petition on the person or persons charged. Subject to objection by either party, all documents filed with the petition and any response thereto shall be considered as evidence by the court. All documents submitted shall be provided to the opposing party prior to a hearing on the merits. When any justice shall find that time probably is of the essence, he or she may order notice by any reasonable means, and he or she shall have authority to issue an order ex parte when he or she shall reasonably deem such an order necessary to insure compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
91-A:8 Remedies. –
91-A:9 Destruction of Certain Information Prohibited. – A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who knowingly destroys any information with the purpose to prevent such information from being inspected or disclosed in response to a request under this chapter. If a request for inspection is denied on the grounds that the information is exempt under this chapter, the requested material shall be preserved for 90 days or while any lawsuit pursuant to RSA 91-A:7-8 is pending.
91-A:10 Release of Statistical Tables and Limited Data Sets for Research. –
VI. Nothing in this section shall exempt any requestor from paying fees otherwise established by law for obtaining copies of limited data sets or statistical tables. Such fees shall be based on the cost of providing the copy in the format requested. The agency head shall provide the requestor with a written description of the basis for the fee.