Connecticut schools respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for superintendent contracts

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:25am

From The Middletown Press:

(Nov 10, 2012) - The Region 13 school district was the second slowest in the state to respond to a request for a copy of the superintendent’s contract in a recent test done by three daily newspapers.

About half of Connecticut’s 149 public school districts responded within 24 hours to the Freedom of Information request seeking copies of school superintendent contracts, including East Haddam, Old Saybrook, Region 17 (Haddam-Killingworth) and Westbrook.

The New Haven Register, The Middletown Press and The Torrington Register Citizen are working on gathering all school chief contracts for the state in order to build a searchable database. We also decided to test the responsiveness of each district under FOI law.

Contracts of the superintendents   |    FOI responses of the school districts

From The New Haven Register:

(Nov 9, 2012) - Amity was one of only two school districts in the state to charge a fee for a copy of the superintendent’s contract and require that the documents be picked up in person, a recent Freedom of Information test done by three daily newspapers shows.

[...]

Districts had been asked for the contracts to be delivered electronically, such as in a .PDF file, and that districts waive the cost associated with the request. Under FOI law, a municipality can charge up to 50 cents per page for paper copies of a contract.

Two districts — Region 5 (Amity) and Naugatuck — requested the contracts be picked up in person and charged for the copies. Amity was paid $7.50 and Naugatuck $8, for a total project cost of $15.50. All other districts waived the fee, including the seven districts that sent the contracts via postal mail (Newington, Portland, Farmington, Watertown, Simsbury, Waterford and Region 11).

Two districts faxed their contracts (Brooklyn and Voluntown) and one superintendent (Sprague) dropped off a contract in person.

Another two districts (Glastonbury and Norwalk) had the superintendent contracts available online on the school district web sites.

In addition to the news articles, read the editorial piece from The Register Citizen:

(Nov 11, 2012) - In the past week, The Register Citizen has tangled with the Torrington Board of Education over its policy of not letting members speak to the press, has filed a complaint about notice of that meeting and written about slow response to an FOIA request.

Our take: We were as surprised as anyone when some commentary in this space a week ago apparently caused the Torrington Board of Education to hold a special meeting Monday night for the purpose of condemning The Register Citizen’s criticism of the board.