The Graves County (Kentucky) Board of Education proposed to consolidate two elementary schools. Opponents of the consolidation asked for some public records, including information about reimbursement of school district employees and school board members for school-related expenses.
Instead of providing the records, the school district gave Kelly Whitaker, the citizen requestor, 47 boxes of financial records and told her she’d find the information in the boxes.
This response was appealed to Kentucky’s attorney general, as is provided for in Kentucky’s open records legislation. (Many states are not fortunate enough to have a designated ombudsman.)
The attorney general ruled that:
…the commingling of records [Whitaker] requested with records that were not part of her request “constituted a subversion of the intent” of the Open Records Law.
Why did Whitaker ask for information about reimbursements of school district board members and staff?
I don’t know, but sometimes these receipts can turn up evidence of violations of open meetings laws. For example, if three school board members all turn in reimbursements requests for a dinner at Applebee’s on the same date, that might be a reason to look into whether open meeting laws are being honored.