Delaware DOE wants to charge $300 “DTI Fee” For Any FOIA Request Submitted Now

If you file a Freedom of Information request with the Delaware Department of Education for anything electronic, you can be sure you will be charged an “entrance fee” of $300 right off the bat.  Even if it is one email, for one five minute period of a given day.  How the hell does this make sense?  What is the point of FOIA if the General Fund is just going to reap the benefits?  This is highway robbery.  The F in FOIA stands for Freedom, not Fee.  When I have to search my email for something, it takes about three minutes if I have a lot of entries for that person.

Alison May is the Public Information Officer at the DOE, Katisha Fortune is the attorney at the Department of Justice who handled my FOIA complaint earlier this year and ruled the DOE overcharged me by almost $7000.00 for a FOIA request, Catherine Hickey is the DOJ attorney assigned to DOE, and Jackie Edge is…the survey monkey employee at DOE?

From: DOE FOIA <>
To: “” <>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 8:07 AM
Subject: RE: FOIA request


The DTI estimate for this request is $300, which DTI says covers the staff time to extract data that meets your criteria from email archives.   The DTI Engineering Team’s labor rate is $100/hr.  According to DTI, the tasks that are involved with compiling this e-records request include:

·            Configure search strings

·            Conduct search

·            Scrub results to ensure no unintended content is included

·            Compile results

·            Commit results to media     

DTI requires payment before it does a search. Please make sure your check is made payable to DTI, not DDOE.

The Department of Education is responsible for redacting any emails deemed to be non-public, as defined by  the FOIA Chapter of the Delaware Code at 29 Del. C. sec. 100, including emails to/from the Controller General’s Staff, General Assembly and staff (29 Del. C. sec. 10002(l)(16)).

If this takes more than an hour, the rate for this work is $22.27 per hour. This payment would be due to the Department of Education and may be required before work begins.

To proceed with the request, please submit a check for $300 payable to DTI and send to:

DTI FOIA Coordinator

William Penn Building

801 Silver Lake Blvd

Dover, DE  19904

Once a check is received the data will be loaded on a CD and delivered to DOE. I will update you at this time.

DTI has this request in its queue but will not start work until it receives the check from you.  If DTI does not receive payment in 30 days, DTI will close the request.

From: []
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 11:48 AM
Subject: FOIA request


Request Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015


Name: Kevin Ohlandt
Address1: 9 Crosley Ct
City: Dover
State: DE
Zip Code: 19904

Phone: 302-922-7244

Request: Please forward me, in digital format, any emails between Susan Haberstroh, Donna Johnson, Ryan Reyna, or Penny Schwinn to Yvette Smallwood or Vicki Schultes between the dates of 8/1/15 and 8/31/15.

Cost: 9.10

From: Kevin Ohlandt []
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:05 AM
Cc: Fortune Katisha D
Subject: Re: FOIA request
Dear whatever Human Being is actually reading this:
Are you trying to tell me that ANY FOIA request submitted to the Delaware Department of Education for anything electronic will always have an automatic $300 fee?  This is ridiculous.  You do realize you are using these fees to consciously prevent Delaware citizens from reasonably getting information, right?  I will make sure the people know about this policy of yours.  It isn’t right, and it should not be legal.
Kevin Ohlandt (a real human being)

From: DOE FOIA <>
To: Kevin Ohlandt <>
Cc: Fortune Katisha D <>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:17 AM
Subject: RE: FOIA request


This is a DTI, not a DOE, charge. You should contact DTI with any questions related to its work. is the DTI contact.
Alison May
Public information officer
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, DE 19901-3639
302.735.4000 (T) 302.735.4654 (F)

From: Kevin Ohlandt <>
Cc: Fortune Katisha D <>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:24 AM
Subject: Re: FOIA request

So let me ask this.  If I were to just simply ask the DOE for this information, would they provide it?  Instead of filing a FOIA request?  Because I did that last Spring for an email that I know exists, from one person, for a two day period, and I was told it wasn’t found, but DTI could do their $300 search…
Has the Delaware Department of Education become so corrupt that they will conduct official state business in email that will never see the light of day unless you are wealthy enough to afford it?
Katisha: Please add this to my numerous complaints I filed with the DOJ against DOE yesterday.  Thank you,
Kevin Ohlandt

From: “Fortune, Katisha D (DOJ)” <>
To: ‘Kevin Ohlandt’ <>
Cc: “Hickey, Catherine T. (DOJ)” <>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:32 AM
Subject: RE: FOIA request

Kevin, are you now filing a formal complaint with the AG’s office under 10005(e)?

 From: Kevin Ohlandt <>
To: “Fortune, Katisha D (DOJ)” <>
Cc: “Hickey, Catherine T. (DOJ)” <>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: FOIA request

Yes, I am afraid I am, twice in one year. 
Thank you,

So if I’m not already ticked off, look at the email I get while all of this is going on:

From: “ via” <>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:22 AM
Subject: Reminder: We want your opinion!

DE School Success Reports: Parent & Community Survey
The Delaware Department of Education needs your feedback on how best to present information on school performance to parents and community members! Would you please consider sharing two minutes of your time and participate in our survey on Delaware’s School Success Reports?

Click the button below to start or continue the survey. Thank you again for your participation, and please share the survey broadly with your friends and networks!

Click the button below to start or continue the survey. Thank you for your time.

Begin Survey
Please do not forward this email as its survey link is unique to you.
Opt out of receiving surveys from this sender
Powered by SurveyMonkey Logo
 Okay, they don’t want parents opting out, but I can opt out of this?  I sent a response:

From: Kevin Ohlandt <>
To: “” <>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: Reminder: We want your opinion!

Stop sending me this email to your ridiculous survey.  This is the 3rd one in four days.  Enough.  Now DOE wants parent & community feedback? After they already submitted stuff into a regulation that will screw over every school in the state? Really?
Kevin Ohlandt

And the beat goes on…

Yesterday, Mike Matthews referred to the DOE as a “Mobius strip of bullshit”.  I completely agree Mike.

Published by

Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

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