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John Cornyn

August 26, 1999

Ms. Jennifer S. Riggs
Hill Gilstrap Adams & Graham, L.L.P.
1005 Congress Avenue, Suite 880
Austin, Texas 78701


Dear Ms. Riggs:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 126783.

The Arlington Independent School District (the "district"), which you represent, received an open records request for "[a]ny and all results of the Spring 1999 school effectiveness surveys." You have submitted to this office as responsive to the request three types of documents that summarize the responses the district received from professional and para-professional staff: a bar graph listing several broad categories, a compilation of responses by aggregate percentages for each elicited answer, and certain transcribed narrative comments of the respondents. You contend that the information at issue is excepted from required public disclosure pursuant to section 552.111 of the Government Code.

Section 552.111 of the Government Code protects from required public disclosure interagency and intra-agency memoranda and letters, but only to the extent that they contain advice, opinion, or recommendation intended for use in the policymaking process. Open Records Decision No. 615 at 5 (1993); see also Austin v. City of San Antonio, 630 S.W.2d 391 (Tex. App.--San Antonio 1982, writ ref'd n.r.e.). Section 552.111 does not protect facts and written observation of facts and events that are severable from advice, opinions, and recommendation. Open Records Decision No. 615 at 5 (1993).

Most of the information at issue is purely factual in nature. The bar graph and the aggregate percentages of responses to the survey represent factual compilations of information that are not protected from public disclosure under section 552.111. Open Records Decision No. 209 (1978). See also Open Records Decision No. 419 (1984). The narrative comments, on the other hand, represent respondents' written responses reflecting those individuals' advice or opinions regarding policy matters concerning the district and, therefore, may be withheld pursuant to section 552.111.

We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.


Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division


Ref.: ID# 126783

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Jennifer Autrey
Arlington Star-Telegram
1111 West Abram
Arlington, Texas 78701
(w/o enclosures)


POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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