Open Public Records Act (OPRA)

OPRA is the statute that replaced the previous “Right to Know Law.” OPRA governs the public’s access to government records in New Jersey. OPRA codified as N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, et seq.

Specifically, OPRA is intended to:

  • Expand the public’s right of access to government records;

  • Create an administrative appeals process if access is denied; and

  • Define what records are and are not “government records.”

OPRA specifically defines a government record as:

"... any paper, written or printed book, document, drawing, map, plan, photograph, microfilm, data processed or image processed document, information stored or maintained electronically or by sound-recording or in a similar device, or any copy thereof, that has been made, maintained or kept on file ... or that has been received in the course of his or its official business ..." (Emphasis added.) N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1.

Generally stated, a "government record" means any record that has been made, maintained, or kept on file in the course of official business, or that has been received in the course of official business.

OPRA covers more than just paper records.  Under OPRA, a "government record" includes printed records, tape recordings, microfilm, electronically stored records (including e-mails and data sets stored in a database), books, maps, photographs, etc.

All government records are subject to public access unless they are specifically exempt under OPRA or any other law.  There are 24 specific exemptions contained in OPRA. 

Additional information regarding OPRA is available on the website of the Government Records Council.

OPRA is used when the requestor wants to gain access to government records and wants to invoke the OPRA statute, which provides a statutory right of access to government records and holds a records custodian to a response deadline.

An official OPRA request is a request for government records submitted to a public agency either: on an official OPRA request form; or an otherwise written request that clearly references OPRA.  If a written request does not mention OPRA anywhere, it is not an OPRA request. Verbal requests are never OPRA requests. 

An OPRA request form is provided in order to submit a request, but as noted above, a specific form is not required.

A request for access to a government record must be in writing and hand-delivered, mailed, transmitted electronically, or otherwise conveyed to the appropriate custodian. A records request under OPRA cannot be made verbally. 

The Custodian of School Records for the Montville Township Public Schools is Mrs. Katine Slunt, School Business Administrator.