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Must PTO generated student directories be released to public requests under the FOIA

This is a follow up on discussion during previous Parent Council meetings regarding the potential requirement to make student directory information available to the public.  Jennie James shared information from the Federal Department of Education - FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations) <> .

The County Attorney, Annie Kim, provided the following information about a school's requirement to share such information.  Please review this information, and you may contact me or Annie Kim directly if you need additional information.

FERPA does not apply to PTOs.  FERPA applies solely to "educational agencies," such as local school divisions.  As I mentioned this morning, FOIA may apply to PTO's if their funding is primarily public.  If the PTO is not funded primarily by the school division, it is not subject to FOIA and can simply decline a citizen's request for a school directory.  However, should the PTO provide a copy of its directory to a school, that copy would become a public record and the school division could be required to provide it in response to a FOIA request.  

Annie Kim
Senior Assistant County Attorney
 Albemarle County Attorney's Office
 401 McIntire Road, Suite 325
 Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
 V: (434) 972-4067 (#3269)
 F: (434) 972-4068