Allison Reardon, the State Solicitor for the Delaware Department of Justice, wrote a legal opinion on a Freedom of Information Act complaint last week. Even though DOJ ruled the complaint was not a FOIA violation, the answer from Christina School District shows Delaware seems woefully lost in terms of being able to decipher education funding.
A citizen asked the school district for a breakdown of education funding by school in the district. Although Senate Bill #172 will eventually provide some of the answers for the citizen, it has not been signed by Governor John Carney. But in my opinion, Christina School District, as well as all our school districts and charter schools should be doing this already. They should put ALL education spending, down to the penny, on their website, broken down by each school. As well, they need to put all district costs in as well. In this age of technology, there is absolutely no reason they can’t. But they choose not to. And when someone calls them out on it, they conveniently say “we aren’t required to”.
This is one of the major reasons some folks in Delaware are anti-referendum. They feel if a district wants more money they should be fully transparent with the money they already have. We have had too many districts and charters with financial fraud in the past decade to ignore this need.
For this citizen, she had to submit three different FOIA requests in order to get some type of answer. While her wording may have been confusing to the average reader, I have no doubt the district’s Chief Financial Officer, Bob Silber, knew exactly what she was looking for. This is the problem with FOIA requests. One word can be off and the receiver of that request can deny it based on a word technicality.
To read the legal opinion from Reardon, please see below.