SCHOOLS. SCHOOL BOARDS. TEACHING CERTIFICATES EXEMPT FROM REQUIRED
DISCLOSURE UNDER VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.
March 27, 1980
The Honorable William E. Fears
Member, Senate of Virginia
You ask if a local school board must disclose upon request
certificates of teaching personnel when the disclosure would involve
twenty-five or more certificates. You further ask if disclosure is
required, whether the school board must notify the affected teachers
of such disclosures.
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act exempts "personnel
records" of public bodies from required disclosure. See
§2.1-342(b)(3) of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended. Such
certificates are required by law, and issued pursuant to regulations
of the State Board for Community Colleges. See §22-204. As the
certificates contain the professional qualifications of teachers, I
am of the opinion that they are "personnel records" exempt from
required disclosure. See Report
of the Attorney General (1978-1979) at 317.
The fact that such records are free from required disclosure does
not however prohibit their disclosure by the local school board. See
§2.1-380(1). In the event of such disclosure, the board may make
reasonable charges for the copying and search time expended in the
supplying of such records. See §2.1342(a).
Notice of disclosure must be provided the affected teachers under
the Virginia Privacy Act when the disclosure of personal information
is made to public agencies, nongovernmental organizations or an
information system maintained for recordkeeping purposes whether
automated or manual, containing personal information of individuals.
See §§2.1-382(2), 2.1-379(1) and 2.1-379(2). In any other
case when personal information is disclosed, school boards would
retain the discretion to provide such notices.