On June 19, 2013, Parkesburg resident Timothy Alexander submitted a request to the Octorara Area School District seeking certain records relating to the District’s extension of the District Superintendent’s employment contract. The District did not respond within the required five business days of receiving the request, and the request was, therefore, deemed denied. On July 1, 2013, Alexander filed a timely appeal with Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records stating grounds for disclosure.
The Pennsylvania Right-to-Know law clearly places the burden of proof on the District to demonstrate that a record is exempt. In this case, the District did not comply with the Right-to-Know law by timely responding to the request, nor did it provide any factual or legal support for denying access to responsive records. Based on the District’s failure to comply with the statutory requirements of the Right-to-Know law or to provide any evidentiary basis in support of an exemption under the Right-to-Know law, the Office of Open Records found that the District did not meet its burden under the Right-to-Know law.
Alexander’s appeal has been granted and the District is required to provide all responsive records within thirty days. This Final Determination is binding on all parties. Pennsylvania’s Office of Opens Records is to be be served notice and have an opportunity to respond according to court rules as per Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know law. This Final Determination has be placed on the Office of Open Records website at: http://openrecords.state.pa.us.
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