School Board Gets Update On Right To Know Requests Statuses

By Alex Malm

During the Nov. 1 School Board meeting, Interim Superintendent, Dan Black, gave the School Board an update regarding the Right to Know requests that they have received.
“We have had a few members of the public reach out in recent weeks to inquire about the Right to Know requests that we have had this year and the overall time and costs it takes to complete them,” Black said in a memo to the School Board.
Black said they received five different requests so far this school year.
Black said the first two requests weren’t difficult to fill.
One of the requests was for emails between the School Board and Londonderry C.A.R.E.S, and the other request was for agendas, minutes, public posting, and committee members of the Kindergarten Committee.
“The first two requests each took a couple of hours of work from District Office staff, minimal copying and mailing costs,” said Black.
For the third request, which regarded to the Moose Hill playground equipment, he stated that request was more difficult.
“The third request took about 12 hours of work from our District Office staff to see what information we had available on our Moose Hill Playground equipment that was installed more than 20 years ago. There were minimal copying and mailing costs,” said Black.
For one of the requests they received, Black said it was much more labor intensive.
Black explained the request was for purchase orders and expenses for all legal services for the School District from FY2019 and the IRS 1099 filing for the work.
“The fourth request unfortunately is a much larger and ultimately more expensive request to complete. Over the next few weeks our business office, in their spare time during budget season, will be able to produce the documentation on legal services for all of fiscal year 2019 the district engaged in,” said Black. “However, we will then need to send this paperwork to our lawyers to review and ensure there is no information in that paperwork that falls under attorney client privileges. Most likely there will be a lot of information that falls in that category that we will then have to pay our lawyers to redact that information.”
Over the past few years, Black said districts across the State have seen more requests coming in.
Black noted that different school districts have different ways to deal with the requests including posting them on the school district websites and in one case hiring someone to fulfill the requests.
Black stated he didn’t think they should hire someone and says he hopes they never will have to.
“I would consider that a huge waste of taxpayers dollars,” said Black.
Black said instead of filing Right to Know requests people could also call the District Office to request information.
“If you want to know something please reach out,” said Black.
“The public has plenty of opportunity to learn more about the school system and can always reach out to the District Office and Schools themselves for more information on many topics,” said Black.

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