Thursday, August 09, 2012
Freedom of Information Act and Education
It's time to demand the information on where our tax dollars are going.
BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana's education chief has refused to provide records from the deliberations over how schools were chosen to participate in Gov. Bobby Jindal's new statewide voucher program, which is using tax dollars to send students to private and parochial schools.
The Department of Education isn't claiming an exemption in public records law in denying the June 12 request from The Associated Press and delaying any production of the internal documents for at least several more weeks.
Instead, the department is claiming "a deliberative process privilege" cited in two court rulings that have nothing to do with education issues, but involve legal battles over what records should be available to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office.
Through a spokesman, Superintendent of Education John C. White said Wednesday that he'll release the documents in September, after voucher enrollment is set in a Sept. 1 student count.
Any release before that, White said, could cause confusion for parents.
"We're committed to fulfilling the request when the process is finished, and that is when all student assignments are final," said Barry Landry, education department spokesman.
Asked why the documents will be hidden until then, Landry said, "Our concern is providing outdated information that may cause confusion to parents who are trying to make decisions around their participation in the program."