We’ve got our reply from the latest letter sent to the School Board Clerk.
Today, we got this reply from Larry Clark.
Dear Mr. Hedrick:
I am writing in response to your email to Robin Mahan of June 9, 2009. I would like to clarify our policy and approach on this, and correct an assumption that your (sic) make in your email to Ms. Mahan that I believe misconstrues FOIA.
You are correct that Section 2.2-3707 of the Freedom of Information Act requires that at least one copy of all agenda packet items and non-exempt materials furnished to the School Board should be “made available for public inspection” at the same time such documents are furnished to the members of the public body, in this case the School Board. The Code also says in Section 2.2-3704 that a request for “copying” of such records is to be responded to by the School Board within five business days. Ms. Mahan’s response to you that copies of the attachments would be available Monday night complied with the Code because it was less than five business days from the date of your request.
There is a distinction that is clearly made in Sections 2.2-3704 and 2.2-3707, between what must be made available for “inspection” and what must be made available by “copying”. The documents you requested were available for “inspection” at the School Board office at the time those documents were mailed to the School Board members, as our policy and the Code of Virginia requires; you are always welcome to come the School Board office and request to “inspect” those records. If there is then something that you want to have copied, you can make that FOIA request in writing, and we will comply with that request within the number of days as set forth in Code Section 2.2-3707.
It is our belief, and confirmed by our legal counsel, that the above procedure complies with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. If you believe that after reviewing this correspondence that we are mistaken, you are certainly invited to tell us why, and we will consider your thoughts openly and fairly. It has been and continues to be our desire to be fully compliant with Virginia law, and it is our belief that we have been in the communications between you and Ms. Mahan.
With best regards,
Larry D. Clark, Deputy Superintendent
Round 4 is coming up!