Following are responses to common questions about public records to the Board.

What is a public record?

A “public record” refers to any record created or received in conducting Board business, in whatever format, including but not limited to paper, photographs, recordings, emails or digital images, unless an exception applies under federal or state law.

North Carolina law does not require the Board to respond to a request for a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist.


How do I submit a public records request?

1. Go to the Board's online public records portal at https://cmsk12.nextrequest.com/

2. Click on Make Request.

3. A NextRequest email receipt is provided within minutes of making the request.

4. The requestor is given the option to create an account in order to check the status of a request.


What is the Board’s policy on public records requests?

The Board’s policy on public records requests (Policy BEDK - Providing Information to the Public) can be found  at https://go.boarddocs.com/nc/cmsnc/Board.nsf/Public


I’m an employee at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. How should I respond to a public records request?

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees who receive a public records request should redirect the requestor to the Board's online public records portal at https://cmsk12.nextrequest.com/. 


Is the Board permitted to withhold some records?

The most common exceptions involve the Board’s legal responsibility to protect the privacy rights of students, faculty and staff under federal and state law. Examples of protected information include a student’s academic work or personnel records about an employee’s work performance.

The principal laws covering these exceptions are the:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act,  (920 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99)

North Carolina Public Records Act, (N.C.G.S. Chapter 132)

North Carolina Human Resources Act, (N.C.G.S. Chapter 126)

North Carolina Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (N.C.G.S. Chapter 115C)


What information about an employee is considered public?

Under state law, the following information about an employee may be released:


Age (not date of birth)

Date of original employment or appointment

Terms of any contract by which the employee is employed whether written or oral, past and current

Current position


Current salary

Date and amount of each increase or decrease in salary

Date and type of each promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification with CMS

General description of the reasons for each promotion

Date and type of each dismissal, suspension, or demotion for disciplinary reasons. If the disciplinary action was a dismissal, a copy of the written notice of the final decision of the head of the department setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal

Office to which the employee is currently assigned (work contact information is available on the CMS online directory)

Any additional information regarding employees not listed above is considered confidential under state law unless otherwise authorized by the State Human Resources Act.


How long will it take for the Board to respond to a records request?

The response time will vary on a case-by-case basis. The Board will respond as systematically as possible based on factors including the availability of records, the complexity of the request, the volume of materials involved, the number of requests ahead in the queue, the priority order of the request in cases in which a requester has submitted multiple requests, and the time required to review the materials for possible redaction to protect the privacy rights of students or employees or other information deemed confidential under federal or state law.

The process of gathering potential public records often involves queries to multiple individuals and units across the school district as part of a good-faith effort to identify all responsive records including email correspondence, memos, budget materials and the like.

Under North Carolina law, the Board must produce the public records “as promptly as possible.” What is considered “as promptly as possible” will vary depending on the volume of documents sought by the requester. In certain cases, the records can be produced in fewer than 10 days. However, large or complex requests may take much longer to fulfill.


Can I inspect a public record in person?

The Board is required to provide an opportunity for inspection and examination of its public records during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays). The Board may set parameters for how inspections occur to protect those records and to not disrupt campus operations. Alternative arrangements will be necessary in cases in which original documents include protected or confidential information.


About Data Requests

A data request refers to a request for school or district data that is collected or received by the district including but not limited to enrollment, attendance, graduation, course grades, discipline or assessments. Data can be aggregated by demographic groups if group size is permitted by FERPA, state laws, CMS Board Policy and relevant privacy policies of organizations providing data. Format of data will depend on data availability and requester may be referred to publicly available data. Data may be requested for, but is not limited to, such purposes as approved research studies, internal reporting/evaluation, state or federal reporting and district partnerships.

Data requests must be submitted via the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Office of Accountability webpage at https://www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/accountability/Pages/Data-Requests.aspx.  The webpage includes specific information and resources to help facilitate such requests.  

From the News Media

Media representatives may contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Communications Department at https://www.cms.k12.nc.us/communications/Pages/default.aspx with media inquiries.  Public records requests should not be submitted to the CMS Communications Department.


About the Portal Background Photo. The background is a picture of a stairwell @ Pineville Elementary School. The school dedicated its new building on Sept. 19, 2013 on the same grounds where the original school was built. This is the third facility for the school, which opened in the early 1900s. The new building replaced the single-story a building that was built in 1968.

The new school was built with funds from the 2007 bonds.  The two-story building has 84,000 square feet and 37 classrooms. It is also the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified project for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The layout for the replacement building was based on a prototype, however, it also has characteristics of a historic structure. The style of windows, exterior brick and front entry resemble those of past facilities.