Our view: An information upgrade

Radford schools are promising that future audio files of board meetings will end up much less expensive than the $40-an-hour rate quoted initially to an interested resident.

That was the rate before then-school board candidate Mark Schafer contacted columnist Dan Casey. Casey’s April 10 column (“Radford school board recordings out of reach”) exposed a school system not quite up-to-date in its use of technology, and ignorant or indifferent to certain provisions of the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

The schools lowered the hourly rate to $33.58 after Casey asked a couple of pointed questions. Like whether Schafer’s request for copies of 20.75 hours of audio files should really require 20.75 hours of an IT tech’s time, and if the $830 tab covered only “actual costs” of duplication — essentially, the cost of that person’s time — without overhead, as the state’s Freedom of Information Act requires.

The latter question prompted the schools to shave a few bucks off the rate. It was the other question, though, that enlightened: Duplicating 20.75 hours of digital sound files requires 20.75 hours of an IT guy’s time? Really? Continue>>>