63 Op. Att'y Gen. 143 (1974)

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6 May 1974 WI Attorney General Opinions

Public Records; Teachers;

Matters and documents in the possession
or control of school district officials
containing information concerning the
salaries, including fringe benefits,
paid to individual teachers are
matters of public record.

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ERNEST C. KEPPLER,
State Senator Legislature

As chairman and on behalf of the Senate
Organization Committee, you request my
opinion on the question of whether or
not the salaries, including all fringe
benefits, paid individual teachers for
services as public employes are
matters of public record.

Section 19.21(1), Stats., provides:

19.21(1)

Each and every officer of the state, or of
any county, town, city, village, school
district, or other municipality or district,
is the legal custodian of and shall safely
keep and preserve all property and things
received from his predecessor or other
persons and required by law to be filed,
deposited, or kept in his office, or which
are in the lawful possession or control of
himself or his deputies, or to the possession
or control of which he or they may be
lawfully entitled, as such officers.

There are several documents or records
within the possession or control of the
superintendent of a school district that
would contain information on the salaries,
including fringe benefits, paid to individual
teachers employed by the district.

A non-exclusive listing of such
documents would include:

(1)  individual teachers' contracts, which
     necessarily would contain information
     concerning salary and other fringe
     benefits, or reference to other
     documents setting forth such
     information;

(2)  payroll records necessary to determine
     gross salary, paychecks, required
     federal and state income tax
     withholding, and other wage deductions;

(3)  collective bargaining agreements,
     if such have been entered into by
     the school district and the
     collective bargain unit; and

(4)  all materials including but not limited
     to correspondence, computer data and
     ancillary records as they relate
     to the categories just listed.

Since these records are properly in the
possession, control, or entitlement of
the superintendent or his or her deputies,
they are clearly public records within
the meaning of Section 19.21(1), Stats.

Section 19.21(2), Stats., provides:

19.21(2)

Except as expressly provided otherwise,
any person may with proper care, during
office hours and subject to such orders
or regulations as the custodian thereof
prescribes, examine or copy any of the
property or things mentioned in
Subsection 19.21(1), any person may,
at his own expense and under such
reasonable regulations as the
custodian prescribes, copy or
duplicate any materials, including
but not limited to blueprints,
slides, photographs and drawings.

Duplication of university expansion
materials may be performed away from the
office of the custodian if necessary.

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I am unaware that there is any express
provision that the above-mentioned
records do not fall within the ambit of
Section 19.21, Stats., and therefore
conclude that your question must
be answered in the affirmative.

RWW:WHW

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