Coatesville schools don’t provide requested information

The clock expired Thursday for the Coatesville Area School District to respond to three Right-to-Know requests submitted last month by the Daily Local News, a sister paper of The Times Herald.

The newspaper made the requests in response to the abrupt departures of former Superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato.

Those requests, because the district hadn’t replied within 30 days of when it first said it needed more time to check on the legality of releasing the information, were deemed denied Thursday.

On Sept. 10, school board solicitor and attorney James Ellison advised the Daily Local the district needed an additional 30 calendar days beyond the usual five business days public entities have to respond to the newspaper’s Right to Know request.

“… (A) legal review is necessary to determine whether the requested record is a public record subject to access under law,” he wrote in a letter sent by conventional mail.

“If the school district fails to provide you with a final decision within that time period, your written request is deemed denied,” Ellison wrote.

Three separate requests were filed. The first was for the numbers of all district issued cell phones and the names of employees associated with those numbers. The second was for the names, job titles, lengths of stay and salaries for three specific school district employees. The third was for names, job titles, lengths of stay and salaries of all employees in the school district.

According to Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel at Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, the names of district employees who received cell phones, not including the issued numbers, along with the specifics of the other requests are part of public record.

“(Those documents) are expressly public under law, and it should not be denied,” she said.

Continue reading The Times Herald →

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One response to “Coatesville schools don’t provide requested information

  1. Transparency is needed everywhere these days.

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