The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (as amended by Public Act 096-0542 ) is a state statute that provides the public the right to access government documents and records. The law provides that a person can ask a public body for a copy of its records on a specific subject and the public body must provide those records, unless there is an exemption in the statute that protects those records from disclosure (for example: records containing information concerning trade secrets or personal privacy).
Exemptions are described under 5 ILCS 140, Section 7 and Section 7.5. In addition, some records may be subject to confidentiality provisions imposed by other state or federal laws; the FOIA process for disclosure of information does not supersede these other applicable statutory and judicial mandates.
The Freedom of Information Act is designed to allow a person to inspect or receive copies of records. It is not designed to require a public body to answer questions. For general questions regarding the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), view the listing of CPS departments.
How to Submit a FOIA Request
FOIA requests must be in writing. Due to our request volume, the most efficient way for us to respond to requests is via the CPS FOIA Center. You may access the CPS FOIA Center by clicking the link below.
Submit a FOIA Request
Submitting FOIA requests via this link will offer requestors the following benefits:
- Sending FOIA requests via an automated easy-to-use system;
- One stop forum for corresponding with the FOIA officer and keeping track of FOIA requests; and
- Receiving and viewing current and historical responses.
FOIA requests may also be submitted by mail, please refer to the contact information below.
Please note that all FOIA requests are posted online. FOIA requests are public information, and when you submit a FOIA request, your name and information about the request will be made available on the CPS website.
Non-commercial requests have a 5-10 business day turnaround (excluding weekends and holidays). If more time is needed to respond, the FOIA Officer will inform the requestor of the additional time needed. In addition, a written agreement with the requestor can extend the deadline for response beyond the statutory time requirements. For commercial purpose* requests, a response will be provided within 21 business days.
In addition, a written agreement with the requestor can extend the deadline for response beyond the statutory time requirements. For commercial purpose* requests, a response will be provided within 21 business days.
There is no fee for electronic documents sent via the CPS FOIA Center. There is also no fee for the first 50 pages of black & white, letter (8 ½ x 11) or legal size (11 x 14) paper copies. Each additional page is copied at 15 cents per page. There may be an additional charge for documents provided in color, or in any size other than legal or letter size. For color copies or abnormal size copies, the charge is the actual cost of copying. For documents provided in electronic mediums, such as CD, disc, etc., the fee is the actual cost of purchasing the recording medium.
If you are requesting a waiver of any fees for copying the documents, you must include a statement of the purpose of the request with a specific explanation as to why your request for information is in the public interest.
Many documents are available on the CPS website. You can review or download the following:
* A Commercial Purpose means “the use of any part of a public record or records, or information derived from public records, in any form for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sales or services.” 5 ILCS 140/2(c-10).
Freedom of Information Officer
Chicago Public Schools
42 W. Madison, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602