Delaware Atty General Office Invalidated Appoquinimink Superintendent Contract Due To FOIA Violations

Thanks to “Armpit” for sending this one to me!  Apparently, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn’s office received a petition from a concerned citizen in the Appoquinimink School District due to an open meeting violation concerning their school board.  Superintendent Matthew Burrows contract was invalidated due to the FOIA violations!  You can read the legal opinion here but I will give the highlights:

We find that Executive Session and Public Meeting Agendas for the June 2014 Board Meeting violated FOIA and affected substantial public rights.  In a similar case, we determined that the school board violated substantial public rights “by deciding who to hire as the new [District] superintendent outside of public view.”  Del. Op. Att’y Gen. 02-IB17, 2002 WL 31031224, at *8 (Aug. 6, 2002).  In that case, the “specific rights at issue . . . were the rights of students, parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens in the District to be involved in the selection of a new superintendent.”  Id.  However, we declined to invalidate the school board’s approval of the new superintendent for equitable reasons.   See id., at *10.

Similarly, although we find that the Board’s June 2014 Meeting and related agendas violated FOIA, we decline to determine that the approval of the Contract is invalid for violation of the open meeting law.7  The record indicates that after Mr. Weller raised his concerns about the adequacy of the Board’s June 2014 meeting agendas, the Board placed the matter on its November agenda, engaged in a public discussion about the Contract at the November meeting, and voted on the Contract at the November meeting. The Board also completed FOIA training in a public session in November 2014 in order to gain additional understanding of FOIA’s public meetings laws.  Therefore, we find that the Board has already taken action to cure the June 2014 violations of the open meetings laws.  Under the circumstances, no additional remediation is required.

Even though the matter was fixed by the board, it still happened.  What would have happened if Mr. Weller never brought it to the Attorney General’s attention?  If I ever meet Mr. Weller I would like to shake his hand for his bravery and determination in this matter.  School boards are elected officials, and they need to follow the letter of the law!

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Exceptional Delaware Endorses Tara Greathouse For Appoquinimink School Board!!!

TaraGreathouseforAppo

Tomorrow is school board election day in Delaware!  For Appoquinimink, Exceptional Delaware is endorsing Tara Greathouse.  This is a woman with a lot of soul, and a lot of grit.  During the great debate about parent opt-out, Greathouse has been there in the trenches with other parents at every important occasion: Delaware PTA Town Hall, The House Education Committee, and the full House of Representatives vote.

What impressed me the most was the House Education Committee meeting on House Bill 50.  She came with a prepared statement, but after hearing the arguments against the bill, she chucked her speech to the side and winged it with absolute perfection!  This is a woman who isn’t afraid to take chances and can adapt to a situation easily.  That’s exactly what a school board member needs, and she has it in ample supply.  She would be a fresh new voice with all the love and devotion of a parent, but with the knowledge and strength for what needs to be done for education in Delaware.

She has a deep and abiding concern about the impact of standardized testing on our students.  She understands special education and knows these matters need to be seriously looked at.  She knows the Common Core standards are not good enough for our students and she believes in local control.  What more do you need?

Don’t get lost in the number of names on the ballot, because only one should stick out, and that’s Tara Greathouse!