OPRA Advocacy

This program is available to any parent of a child with a disability, without regard to income.

Pursuant to New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”), any citizen is entitled to request access to (usually in the form of copies of) “public records” from any public entity. The most relevant public entity to parents of children with disabilities are, of course, public school districts. If you would like to obtain public records from your school district, Innisfree will help you.

We will assist you in drafting the requests in the first instance. And if, in the opinion of Innisfree’s General Counsel, your school district improperly denies you access to the documents, we will locate an attorney to challenge the denial of access either in Superior Court or before the Government Records Council. You would not be required to pay attorneys’ fees in such an action, however some minimal out ­of­pocket expenses may be incurred (most notably, filing fees, postage, and copying), for which you would be responsible. If the Innisfree attorney succeeds on your behalf, that attorney will apply for prevailing party fees, which the attorney would be entitled to keep.

Here are some examples of OPRA requests that parents of children with disabilities might make:

  1. Request for insurance contracts.
    • School districts often have insurance to cover the legal fees. If the school district is not paying its own lawyers, it has a reduced incentive to behave reasonably in a dispute with parents.  If nothing else, it can help to know whether the district is paying for its lawyers or relying on insurance.
    • Here is a sample OPRA request for insurance contracts.
  2. Request for contracts with other schools.
    • School districts will often say “we don’t send children out of district.” This request can help keep them honest.
    • Here is a sample OPRA request for contracts with other schools.
  3. Request for Settlement agreements with parents.
    • If you’re in a dispute with your school district, it can be useful to see the terms of agreements the district has made with other parents.
    • Here is a sample OPRA request for settlement agreements.

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