FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-01


February 13, 2001

Mr. Carl Brakman
Newport News, VA

The staff of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your e-mail of January 28, 2001.

Dear Mr. Brakman:

You have asked whether a public school may charge $0.25 per page for copies of records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Subsection A of § 2.1-342 of the Code of Virginia provides that all public records shall be open for inspection and copying to citizens of the Commonwealth. Subsection F of § 2.1-342 states that a public body may make reasonable charges for its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the request records... Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. As a result, so long as $0.25 does not exceed actual costs, the school is within it rights to charge that amount per page.

For your information, please note that under FOIA you have a right of inspection. Therefore, as a requestor, you may simply request to inspect, but not copy, the records, thereby avoiding the $0.25 per page copy charge.

Thank you for contacting this office. I hope that I have been of assistance.


Maria J.K. Everett
Executive Director