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Maryland Public Information Act Requests

Generally

The Maryland Public Information Act[1] gives the public the right to review and obtain copies of public records. Examples of public records available for review include:

  1. Documents and records relating to all aspects of the operations and management of the MLDS Center; and
  2. De-identified aggregate data maintained by the Center.

When making a request for data maintained by the Center, please be aware of the following considerations:

  1. The Center cannot fulfill a request for a record relating to a specific student. The Center can fulfill a request for data related to a population of students(i.e. the college going rate for students who graduated high school in 2014, broken out by county).
  2. State law requires the Center to suppress data that may be identifiable based on the size or uniqueness of the population under consideration. Generally, a population under ten will be suppressed.
  3. The Center may only fulfill data requests for data that are derived from more than one of the Center’s data partners (MSDE, MHEC, or DLLR). A request for data relating to a single agency will be referred to that agency (See COMAR 14.36.04.08).

Making a Request

To review or obtain MLDS Center records or data, you must make a written request by:

  1. Completing and submitting the Center’s electronic form ; or
  2. Mailing the request to the Center, as follows.
     
    Include the following information in your request
    a. Name
    b. U.S. Street Address
    c. City, State, and ZIP
    d. The specific records you are requesting
    e. Telephone number
    f. Email address
       
    Mail your request to: Hand Deliver Your Request to:
    MLDS Center

    Attn: Public Information Request

    525 W. Redwood Street

    Baltimore, MD 21201

    550 West Baltimore Street

    Baltimore, MD 21201

     

     
     
    Note: The Center provides a considerable amount of information on its website, including all Governing Board meeting minutes and materials, monthly updates,data inventory, and other administrative information. The Center also provides data dashboards and reports that may be responsive to your data requests.

Timeline

  1. Upon receipt of a request the Center will determine whether it has a record that is responsive to the request and that the record is open to inspection.

  2. Within 10 days, you will:

    1. Receive the requested information;

    2. Receive a notification that the request is being denied and the reasons for the denial; or

    3. Receive a notification that the request is being fulfilled along with the amount of time that will be needed to respond, the reason for the delay and the associated fees (see below).

  3. The Center will act in good faith to respond to requests within 30 days. However, due to the complexity of some longitudinal data requests, the Center may contact you to seek an agreement to extend, by an additional 30 days, the time period for responding to your request.


Fee and Payment

  1. The PIA, at Section 4-206, permits the MLDS Center to charge for the search, preparation and reproduction of a public record to be made available for inspection—excluding the first two hours of work. Hardcopies of the records will be provided upon payment of an additional fee of $0.25 per page (see COMAR 14.36.01.15).

  2. The MLDS Center requires payment for any estimated amount due before the work is performed. The search, preparation and copying process will begin upon receipt of the total estimated fee. If the actual fee differs from the estimate, the fee will be adjusted accordingly, and you will receive an additional bill or refund as appropriate.

  3. Please make your money order or check payable to the "MLDS Center" and send it to the above  address. You may also hand-deliver a payment to the address listed above. The Center does not accept cash through the mail, credit cards, or PayPal.

  4. If the Center does not receive your payment within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of our reply, it will presume that you are no longer interested in pursuing your request and close the file accordingly. To obtain the documents, you must submit a new request.


Right to Appeal

A person who disagrees with any response to a PIA request or fee assessment, may seek review of the decision.

  1. Judicial Review - The PIA provides for judicial review of the rights provided under the Act. (See General Provisions  Article § 4-362)   Specifically, it authorizes a suit in circuit court to order production of records that have been denied to an applicant.  

  2. Administrative Review - there are two options for a less formal administrative review:

    1. Public Access Ombudsman - The Ombudsman is is a state official charged with making reasonable attempts to resolve disputes between custodians of records and applicants seeking those records. (See General Provisions Article,  4-1B-01 et seq.)

    2. State Public Information Act Compliance Board - The Board is charged with resolving complaints that a custodian has charged an unreasonable fee of more than $350.  The Board is authorized to issue written decisions that are binding.  (See General Provisions Article,  4-1A-01 et seq.)


We are here to help!

  1. The Center is committed to making sure you get the information you want. If you are not sure of exactly what you need, call the Center and staff will be happy to talk through your request and how best to achieve your goals.

  2. If your request is unclear or unreasonably broad, Center staff will contact you to ask for clarification or to narrow the request.


Comments or Questions  

Custodian of Records: Jamese Dixon-Bobbitt

Phone: 410-706-2085

Email: MLDS.Center@Maryland.gov


MLDS Center

Attn: Public Information Request

525 W. Redwood Street

Baltimore, MD 21201


[1] The Attorney General of Maryland publishes the Maryland Public Information Act Manual that serves as a comprehensive resource for members of the press and public seeking access to information and for government officials seeking to meet their responsibilities under the Act. See Appendix E of the Manual for a copy of the law.