Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not available for "public consumption", your public records

I was completely startled by the St Paul School District's response to the inquiry what is the "price tag, and the fiscal impact of the new educator compensation package." of the proposed teacher contract.  Not available for "public consumption" said the district as reported by the Pioneer Press.

Is the St Paul School District continuing to avoid the public accountability and "right to know" that is the legitimate interest of the public?  I think it is.

This type of illogical and nonsense behavior is not new to the school district.  Just under 2 years ago, the Superintendent of Schools Silva came up with absurd rationale to keep, clearly, public data away from the people.

Definitely, the data that was requested as described in the Pioneer Press story about the cost is public.  When the school district leaders say invalid statements to keep data from the public and secret, the media and more importantly the citizenry need to challenge their fallacies.

I have discussed with St Paul School District Board members about the budget episode in 2010, and another one in 2011 which dealt with release of public data concerning new schedule times of schools.  With several of them it seems to me they do not care. 

It seems the Superintendent and school district enjoy restricting public access to public information about major initiatives or proposals when the public or media asks for details.  The school district has been successful at controlling the release of public data to their schedule.  The public or media asks for it and by law they should have it, not be given some implausible and wild excuse to create a barrier and buy time.

I call upon School Board members such as Anne Carroll and Keith Hardy who ran on a transparency platform to stop this ridiculousness. I also call upon that transparency and public accountability be made a part of the performance expectations for Superintendent Silva.

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