Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

  • FOIA is the state Freedom of Information Act. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, records in the possession of public agencies may be accessed by the public upon written request. Pursuant to Section 2 (c), “public records” are all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, recorded information, and all other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared or having been or being used, received, in the possession of or under the control of any public body.

    Frequently Asked Questions about the Freedom of Information Act

    FOIA Request Process

    If your inquiry is simply a question and not a request to see a specific record or document, you can call DPS Administrative Offices at 217.362.3000 and ask to speak with the appropriate staff on that topic. You do not need to file a FOIA request unless you want to access a specific record or document.

    Many types of documents and other sources of information can be found on our website. However, if your interest in DPS requires a FOIA request, please first read the FAQ document linked above, which describes the process, and then use one of the following ways to submit your request:

    By Email:

    By Mail:

    Decatur Public School District #61
    ATTN: Melissa Bradford, FOIA Officer
    Keil Administration Building
    101 West Cerro Gordo St.
    Decatur, IL  62523
    By Fax: 217.424.3009

    Monthly FOIA Report

    The Superintendent or designee shall: (1) provide the Board with sufficient information and data to permit the Board to monitor the District’s compliance with FOIA and this policy, and (2) report any FOIA requests during the Board’s regular meetings along with the status of the District’s response. The Board Secretary serves as the District’s FOIA Officer and will inform the Board of Education of any FOIA Reports from the previous month at every first Board meeting of the month. 

    Click through the tabs at the top to view the monthly FOIA reports.

      July-Dec 2023

      Date Received Due Date Extension Due Date Requestor Topic Summary Date Responded
      07/05/23 07/12/23 07/19/23 Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards, ProPublica Correspondence between the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights or its representatives since 02/02/23, related to the OCR Title VI – discipline complaint filed on that date, Subpoenas or requests for information since 02/02/23 related to the OCR complaint, depositions or other written statements since 02/02/23 taken in connection with the OCR complaint and reports created or completed since 02/02/23 in connection with the OCR complaint or the underlying incidents or allegations. T 07/17/23
      07/10/12 07/17/12 None Andrew Montgomery, Community Member Emails including Andrew Taylor, BOE members, DPS 61 staff, or BLDD Architects as sender or recipient related to American Dreamer STEM Academy from 01/01/22-09/30/22, phone records for calls made to or received from BLDD Architects from 01/01/22-09/30/22, September 30, 2022 and BOE Executive Session or DPS 61 administration meeting minutes involving American Dreamer STEM Academy from 01/01/22-09/30/22. 07/17/23
      07/12/23 07/19/23 None Bret Arnoldussen, schoolSpecialty Bid Tab for 2023-7 Backpacks Supplies and Hygiene Kits. 07/17/23
      07/19/23 07/26/23 None Cassie Oakely, SchoolSpecialty Bid Results for 87-1540 Franklin Grove Flex Seating and 87-1539 South Shores Flex Seating III. 07/20/23
      07/20/23 07/27/23 None Ali Molski, School Outfitters Bid Results for 2023-11 and 2023-12. 07/24/23
      07/24/23 07/31/23 None Ramona Monique Neil Invoices and checks made payable to the following business for any time period: School Leadership Solutions, LLC, dba Lead 180 and/or EduCompass. 07/26/23
      07/26/23 08/02/23 None Mark Pieske, Community Member It is my understanding Alana Banks no longer has residency in the district. Can you confirm if this is true and if so how can she continue to be a Board member? 07/28/23
      07/26/23 08/02/23 None T. Howely, Community Member Pls send me the attendance sheet for this current board since their initial meeting in May of this year ……..for each open session meeting they have had 07/28/23
      07/26/23 08/02/23 None Ramona Monique Neal Correction, can you please provide the Tax-Exempt Number for School Leadership Solutions dba Lead 180? 07/28/23
      07/28/23 08/04/23 None Craig Rich, Onward Injury Law We request the following in regards to the incident of 10/7/22 involving Video Camera Footage - All audio and video camera footage from the school bus on which this incident occurred. 08/04/23
      07/26/23 08/02/23 None Cassie Oakely, School Specialty Bid Results/Recap 2023-12 07/28/23
      08/02/23 08/09/23 08/16/23 Reed Sutman, Decatur Vote 08/16/23
      08/11/23 08/18/23 None Reed Sutman, Decatur Vote Aug 1 Zoom - Audio or video recording of the meeting, list of attendees, including the time each host & attendee joined & exited the meeting, any chats, questionnaires, or other digital records related to the meeting, agenda & packet/related documents/presentations and meeting minutes. 08/18/23
      08/15/23 08/22/23 08/29/23 Reed Sutman, Decatur Vote 08/29/23
      08/16/23 08/23/23 08/30/23 Reed Sutman, Decatur Vote 08/30/23
      08/16/23 08/23/23 08/30/23 Reed Sutman, Decatur Vote 08/30/23
      08/22/23 09/21/23 None Sheri Reid, Smart Procure Purchasing Records from 05/24/23-08/22/23 08/31/23
      08/29/23 09/06/23 None Bret Arnoldussen, Smart Procure Bid Tab-111-1806 General Supplies-II Decatur SD 61 08/30/23
      08/29/23 09/06/23 09/13/23 Emily Hays, IL Public Media Copies of the most recent, 10-year safety survey reports from all schools (except Dennis since you already posted those two reports from 2013 online). TBD
      08/29/23 09/06/23 09/13/23 Reed Sutman, Decatur Vote TBD

      Jan-June 2023

      Date Received Due Date Extension Due Date Requestor Topic Summary Date Responded
      01/04/23 01/11/23 01/19/23 Matthew Spain, Attorney Discipline administered to and/or received by Scott Wagner during his employment with public body and any investigation(s) and communications associated with that discipline; employee file of Scott Wagner, minus any records exempt by Section 7 of the Act or redactions of personal information; and any correspondence, related to any complaints filed or lodged against Scott Wagner. 01/18/23
      01/10/23 01/18/23 None James Dellert, DPS Employee How many people applied for this position (Safety & Security Admin), qualifications of persons interviewed, why the position closed but re-opened, why some were interviewed yet other not, qualifications or not, correspondence in reference to this job opening and any person the applied for the position and correspondence about this position with the name James Dellert, Jim Dellert, Dellert included. 01/18/2023
      01/26/23 02/02/23 None Nathan Mihelich, IL Retired Teachers Assoc. Name and email address of certified staff (teachers, administrators, nurses, counselors, etc.) who are retiring this year 01/27/23
      02/01/23 02/08/23 None Mike Mathieson, Community Member Form that shows Contracts Exceeding $25,000, and the website links to the form for 2015, 2016 through the most current year reported and current fiscal year and the previous FY of contract awarded greater than $10,000 (value, company name and duration. 02/07/23
      02/03/23 02/10/23 None Nick Wong, Community Member Names of employees (teachers, admin, staff, etc.) of the district, their job title (including grade/subject or dept), home base, years in district, FTE hour, salary amounts, and lane/step if applicable for School Year 2022 and 2021. 02/07/23
      02/05/23 02/13/23 None Ruth Cortright, Community Member U.S. Mail addresses for the current board members 02/07/23
      02/07/23 02/14/23 None Sara Madden-Jones, Paralegal Documents and video concerning any incidents or complaints related to bus driver Irene M. Henderson from 01/01/22-10/10/22 02/09/23
      02/15/23 02/23/23 None Reed Sutman, Community Member In a recent meeting, the superintendent said they received a very long email from one of the staff that was very concerning, then proceeded to talk about how the community needs to help with the school. I'd like a copy of the email that she was referencing, as well as any forwards & replies of said email. 02/22/23
      02/23/23 03/24/23 None Sheri Reid, SmartProcure Purchasing records from 12/05/22 – 02/23/23. 03/02/23
      02/27/23 02/28/23 None Paul Phillips, Public Data Research DPS 61 employees first and last names, email address, title/position, and primary department. 02/28/23
      03/01/23 03/08/23 03/15/23 Valerie Wells, Herald & Review Number of expulsions approved in each of the last five years: 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and so far this year up to today. Of those expulsions, how many were referred to alternative education. 03/14/23
      03/03/23 03/10/23 None Records Management, Catalyst Financial Group, LLC For all employees of Decatur Public School District, could you please provide me with the following information? Name, Position/Title, Years of Service in the District, Years of Service in the State,Building/Location, District Email Address, Personal Phone Number, Personal Email Address and Salary. 3/10/23
      03/09/23 03/15/23 None Alida Graham, Retired Teacher/DEA President Expulsion data for the 2022-23 school year: date of the expulsion, age, race and gender of the student and were they provided a stay for alternative. 03/14/23
      03/10/23 03/17/23 None Willie Harris, DPS Employee Copy of complaint. 03/16/23
      03/13/23 03/20/23 None Alyssa Patrick, WAND Employee file of Scott Wagner, except for records exempt by Section 7, disciplinary records from 01/2020 through 01/2023, emails or texts regarding his discipline. Lastly, I am requesting any complaints filed against Mr. Wagner by staff, students and parents. 03/20/23
      03/15/23 03/22/23 None Alida Graham, Retired Teacher/DEA President Who are the two who were offered alternative? 03/16/23
      03/15/23 04/17/23 None Reed Sutman, Community Member Does DPS 61 offer curriculum in trades such as wood shop, auto shop, welding, and home-economics? If yes, can I get a full list of trades programs that are available and what grades are eligible for 03/29/23 said programs & what schools they're offered in? 03/29/23
      03/15/23 04/17/23 None Reed Sutman, Community Member Extended Day: Is there a volunteer aspect of the program? I.e. can HS students, parents, or community members help tutor students after school? Is there a similar program for high school students? What is the estimated annual cost for the district? When was this program first implemented? 03/29/23
      03/22/23 03/29/23 04/05/23 Dylan Wayne Nunn, Community Member Emails containing the names Dylan Nunn, Dylan, Nunn or referencing Dylan Nunn, Dylan, and Nunn from 03/01/1803/21/23 and full employee file for Dylan Nunn. 04/05/23
      03/30/23 04/06/23 04/14/23 Alyssa Patrick, WAND Emails sent 11/06-11/13/2020 regarding a "Nudity Activity Alert" flagged for illicit content uploaded or downloaded to a DPS61 Google Drive account and emails from 11/6/20 through 11/13/20 with the words: Scott Wagner, Nudity Alert, Firewall and Pornographic images. 04/12/23
      03/07/23 03/14/23 None Bret Arnoldussen, SchoolSpecialty Bid Tabulation for quote 111-1791 Please note: this response was delayed due to request was in “junk” mail. 03/30/23
      03/14/23 03/21/23 None Bret Arnoldussen, SchoolSpecialty Bid Tabulation for quote 111-1793 Please note: this response was delayed due to request was in “junk” mail. 03/30/23
      04/04/23 04/12/23 None Janie Jordan, Data Research Employee’s first and last names, e-mail address, title/position, and primary campus/department location. 04/06/23
      04/05/23 04/13/23 None Tara Todd, NCS Credit Copy of the payment bond that the general contractor obtained for the project: SDMS Gymnasium Bleacher Replacement. We believe the general contractor for this project is: Tank Construction Supplies LLC, 1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820. 04/06/23
      04/06/23 04/14/23 None Dylan Wayne Nunn, Community Member Emails containing the names Dylan Nunn and Nunn or referencing Dylan Nunn and Nunn from 03/01/2018 – 03/21/2023. 04/12/23

      Aug-Dec 2022

      Date Received Due Date Extension Due Date Requestor Topic Summary Date Responded
      08/01/22 08/08/22 None Robert Mooth, Community Member Has the Board publicly reviewed the "culturally relevant" books that 1st Educators is putting in the classrooms and school libraries? If so, what were their findings? Was the public notified of, and allowed to review, these books before their injection into our school system? Please send me a complete list of all the books and materials already placed and being used, as well as a list of books that will be placed, in the schools. 08/01/22
      08/02/22 08/09/22 None Lloyd Davis, SED Parent Date was supposed to be 8/1/2021 - 7/25/2022 can you try to locate a foia under same grounds but under different dates. Records on emails and text messages and phone calls as well documents received by Sarah Schrader of Macon piatt special education department. this documents in essence should reveal any document made against myself or report. this should day from 8/1/2022- current date. District phone number is 217-619-2167. I'm Request all documents and evidence that considered to be against m 08/10/22
      08/04/22 08/11/22 None Illinois Policy Research Number of complaints about teachers with the district by parents each year, beginning with 2016-2017 school year until present and process that the school district uses when it receives a complaint about a teacher from a parent. 08/11/22
      08/08/22 08/15/22 None Leara Evans, Retired Teacher Contract for purchase or bill of sale for the old Garfield Elementary/Durfee building located on the corner of Grand and Oakland, district policy on dropping retired teachers from the substitute list, job description for behavior interventionist positions, Communication Director’s job description and the District’s organizational chart. 08/15/22
      08/08/22 08/15/22 None Leara Evans, Retired Teacher Retired person to the Director of Human Resources position without posting the position and at least attempting to fill the vacancy. Jason Hood resigned on March 24, 2022 and Deanne Hillman retired officially on June 1, 2022. TRS requires that retirees can only fill vacant positions after the district has exhausted all efforts to fill a position. 08/15/22
      08/08/22 08/15/22 None Joshua Gibson Community Member School board meeting by-laws. 08/11/22
      08/09/22 08/16/22 None Krystal Bennett, All Town Bus Driver Contract between dps61 and alltown. 08/11/22
      08/10/22 08/17/22 None Donna Ciabatti, Community Member Dps61's current contract with Alltown bus company. 08/11/22
      08/10/22 08/17/22 08/24/22 Jacob Jenkins, Community Member HR Director Posting, date it was posted and on what sites, for how long, and when it was reposted on those sites, internal and external applicants for this position, email or text messages between BOE, HR Staff, any District employee, DLTD, with the words Human Resources Director, or HR and Board policy or ethics violation associated with interviewing Sarah Oakes while her father is a sitting board member and president. 08/24/22
      08/10/22 08/17/22 None Steve Grimm, Community Member Andrew Taylor’s email. 08/11/22
      08/11/22 08/18/22 None Leara Evans, Retired Teacher Dates that Director of HR position was posted from 03/24/22-08/01/22, dates that Director of Labor Relations position was posted from 03/24/22-08/01/22, how long must positions be posted as required by the Department of Labor, how many applicants were interviewed for DHR and the dates, job descriptions for DHR and DLR, posting for the Vacant School Board position that was announced at last night’s 08/09/22 meeting and deadline for receiving resumes and the name of the person it should be sent t 08/18/22
      08/26/22 09/02/22 None Annie Ma, Reporter, Associated Press Data regarding the number of student expulsions held in abeyance in the district for each school year between 2016-2021, including raw total, raw data by race, raw data by gender, raw data for students with an IEP/non-IEP, raw data for students by grade in school and raw data for students placed in an alternative educational program and policies or standard agreements for expulsions held in abeyance contingent on placement in an alternative educational program, or any other similar term or pract 08/30/22
      08/26/22 09/02/22 None Joshua Gibson, Community Member Why submission deadline was extended since I applied to fill the seat and wasn’t ever contacted? Also, what is the board’s policy in the by-laws that prompts an extension in submission deadline in relation to this and if there are any laws, by-laws and/or requirements for posting openings for open board seats and minimum/maximum time frame to keep the posting open as well as the same time frame for filling the seat? 08/31/22
      08/29/22 09/28/22 None Sheri Reid, SmartProcure Purchasing records from 05/31/22 – 08/29/22. 08/30/22
      09/07/22 09/14/22 None Leara Evans, Retired Teacher List of names that applied for the school board position, how many minority teachers are there working that hold a Professional Educators License (PEL), how many retired teachers that hold a PEL are working and filling vacant positions as long term substitutes, what is the pay for a long term substitute that hold a PEL, what is the pay for a substitute that does not hold a PEL, written copy of the procedure or policy that is used to drop retired teachers from the district’s substitute list, how 09/14/22
      09/07/22 09/14/22 None Lori Nelson, Community Member Emails by the board members pertaining to the seat position that became open on august 23, 2022. This should include all emails about to the submissions received, the resume and letter of interest deadline extension, and any email regarding selecting a new member filling the open seat since the new deadline of august 31to now and since the beginning of the procedure to fill the now open seat. 09/14/22
      09/09/22 09/16/22 None Joshua Gibson, Community Member Did I need to make it clear somehow that I met the qualifications laid out in the posting of the board of education seat opening? 09/14/22
      09/09/22 09/16/22 None Valerie Wells, H&R Reporter List of the person(s) who applied for the board seat vacated by former President Dan Oakes. 09/14/22
      09/14/22 09/21/22 None Joshua Gibson, Community Member Emails by any member of the board of education relating to the open board seat. The opening, the discussion of the candidates, the selection, the deadline extension and reason, everything. 09/21/22
      09/14/22 09/21/22 None Margie Payne, School Specialty Bid tab information for Quote # 666-79. 09/15/22
      09/16/22 09/23/22 None Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune MPSED for 2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022 school years: number of student referrals to law enforcement, number of student arrests by law enforcement for and number of incidents in which a student was cited or ticketed by law enforcement for an ordinance violation. 09/21/22
      09/21/22 09/28/22 None Brea Acosta, EHS Parent Incident regarding our daughter on 8/18/22 at EHS. 09/28/22
      09/21/22 09/28/22 None Melanie Ishmael, MPSED Parent Number of students in each DPS building and in each class, number of long-term subs total and in each building, number of certified teachers on DPS’s payroll total and per building, number of Paraprofessionals in DPS total and per building, number of open teacher and paraprofessional positions, list of supplies that fall under instructional and the process to acquire, list of supplies that fall under the school budget and the process to acquire and where is the process for getting supplies docum 09/28/22
      09/22/22 09/29/22 None James Dellert, DPS Employee Can you provide information to obtain the FOIA forms, request, requirements and what the district will and will not provide? Of course, by law not district policy. 09/28/22
      09/29/22 10/06/22 None Leara Evans, Retired Teacher School district board agendas for March 12, 2019 and June 9, 2022, number of teaching positions for 2022/2023, number of vacant positions and vacant positions are filled by retired teachers. 10/06/22