The business of South Carolina First Steps is open to public review, as is required by the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
FOIA requests may be submitted in writing to the Director of Administration at MBarnes@scfirststeps.org.
FOIA Fee Schedule
FOIA requests may be answered without charge or at a reduced charge when First Steps determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because furnishing the information will benefit the public interest and requires minimal and/or a reasonable amount of employee time and photocopying expense.
For all other requests, the following fee schedule will apply:
Employee and Administrative Time
If the FOIA request requires approximately one hour or more of staff time, assessed fees will be based on the actual cost of the search, retrieval, and redaction of records. The fee for the search, retrieval or redaction of records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee who, in the reasonable discretion of the Director of Administration, has the necessary skill and training to fulfill the request.
The prorated hourly salary of an employee is determined by dividing that employee’s salary by 1,950 hours (or less if part time) and multiplying that figure by the number of hours required to search for, retrieve and redact the requested records.
If the FOIA request requires copying approximately 50 pages or more at one time or a similar amount over several days, the charge would be calculated at 20 cents per page.
Postage, Fax or Electronic Data Storage Devices
If the FOIA request requires postage, fax or an electronic data storage device (e.g., thumb drive, CD, etc.) of approximately $2 or more, the charge would be the actual cost associated with the process or device.
A deposit not to exceed 25 percent of the total reasonably anticipated cost for reproduction of (providing) the records may be required before searching for or making copies of records.
Fees for photocopying, employee and administrative time, and postage, fax or electronic storage devices are assessed separately and will be cumulative.
In determining whether a fee is warranted and in calculating the amount required, one or more related FOIA requests from the same individual or organization will be considered as a single request.
Charges generally will not be levied for making records accessible for review unless it is determined that considerable time by knowledgeable staff will be required for reviewing documents with the requester.
Any individual making a FOIA request which will result in a charge shall be notified in advance of the approximate cost for providing that information; notification and acceptance of those charges may be verbal or in writing.
Payment for FOIA requests should be made payable to South Carolina First Steps. Checks and money orders should be forwarded to the Chief Financial Officer at SC First Steps, 636 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201.
Constitutional officers, members of the General Assembly, and other state agencies shall not be charged for information or records released under the FOIA.
Charges may be waived or levied at the discretion of the Executive Director.