Mike Matthews, Warner Elementary School and RCEA President, and I have both submitted FOIA requests to the state of Delaware. Mike submitted his on 11/20/14 to the Delaware Department of Education for any emails from or to the DOE containing the following: Warner Elementary School, Highlands Elementary School, Shortlidge Elementary School, Bancroft Elementary School, Bayard Middle School, and Stubbs Middle School (all the priority schools), the words priority school, partnership zone school, turnaround school, Gateway Lab School, and other key words, from 3/14/13 to 11/19/14.
Mike received a response from the DOE indicating it would be an initial $300 cost to even continue with the email search. Alison May, the public information officer for the DOE, said with all the words it could be several thousand hits, and they have to take out information that is not FOIAble, like student information or emails to the General Assembly (not covered by FOIA). The hourly rate to do this is $35.66 (which by state law would have to be the lowest paid employee able to do the task) plus copying costs and whatnot. Mike has since indicated he wants to see these documents in digital format, which will reduce the amount significantly.
I submitted a FOIA request to Governor Jack Markell’s office on 12/2/4. I asked for emails going back to January 21st, 2009, the date of Markell’s inauguration, between Markell and four individuals, whom I will not name at this point. The only response I have received from this office is that I will receive a response by the 15th business day, which would be 12/22/14. I advised them to let me know if the cost would be more than $40.00 but I have received no estimate.
Mike’s FOIA alone will stretch into hundreds of dollars, if not over a thousand. I have no idea about my own or if they will even honor the request. Certain allowable reasons can get either an extended amount of time or a complete decline.
Mike has started a GoFundMe account for the purpose of raising donations for these FOIA requests. Mike and I have agreed that if the amount received goes over these costs, they will be donated to the local food bank as charity. We will submit all receipts to anyone who asks, and I will even scan them on here as well. To date we have raised $330 out of $500 but the costs could be higher. The link for the GoFundMe page is http://www.gofundme.com/DelawareFOIA
The time has come to get the truth about what is going on with education in Delaware.