CCSD Officials: Transparent when they want to be
Hope everyone had a joyous Holiday season and Happy New Year! The blogging was a little light over the past couple weeks because of vacations and such, but it's a new year and there's a ton to write about, so let's jump right in.
Take a moment a read Paul Takahashi's piece on how the Clark County School District repeatedly denied record requests from the Las Vegas Sun.
But despite its proclamations of being transparent with the community, the district has refused to grant repeated public records requests from the Sun for graduation data from the three schools. …
For the past four months, the Sun has been requesting that the district provide a variety of student data to demonstrate quantitatively the gains made at the turnaround schools during the 2011-12 school year.
The district complied with most of the Sun's requests for data, such as the number of discipline incidents, teacher turnover and average daily attendance rates. However, it has declined to release a key indicator of the turnaround's success: graduation rates for the class of 2012. …
Moreover, the preliminary graduation rates — even if unverified by the state — still are public documents financed by taxpayer dollars, Smith said. Open records law specifies the district must cite a legal statute that exempts it from releasing public information.
"All records are perceived to be open unless there is a specific exception by law," Smith said. "(Graduation rates) are a matter of public record."
Although the School District claims it has no legal obligation to release graduation data because it considers them "worksheets/workpapers," nowhere in its two-page letter does it cite a state law that prohibits it from releasing this data, Smith said.
This, as NPRI knows from first-hand experience, one example of which Takahashi cited, is a disturbing pattern at CCSD. Delay or deny public records they don't want released; trumpet records they want to spin positively.
Superintendent Dwight Jones has written that the District is "committed to transparency," but CCSD hasn't lived up to his promise.
It's a new year. A great resolution for CCSD would be to comply with Nevada's Public Records law and be transparent in both word and deed.