As has become typical, there are those attempting to paint a picture of the Office of Open Record’s Final Determination based on few facts.
This was not a court hearing, it was a Right-to-Know law request. Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records administers the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law. It is part of the Executive branch, not the Judicial. As a result, it also establishes the regulations or guidelines regarding the law.
The whole process was done by email, with a deadline of end-of-business on September 23rd. The Solicitor sent the District’s position statement in the matter, and supporting materials, to the OOR via email at 3:50pm on September 23rd. There was no courtroom, no one took the stand, and there was no ability to cross examine.
The only way to refute Dr Newcome’s testimony will be in court. It would require (among other things) subpoenaing District employees to clarify and explain in detail Dr Newcome assertions, forcing them to explain how their spam filtering software works, and explain why they would block parents from emailing teachers and staff. (see Octorara Intentionally Blocking Parents from Emailing Teachers)
Additionally, the OOR only ruled on if the District actually received my original request, thus compelling them to act, not on the issue of if the records should be public. The OOR’s conclusion was the Board’s obligation to respond to the Request pursuant to the RTKL was not triggered.
My decision to appeal or not will be based on the value of such an action, or if a different course is best. A court action could be a moral victory, forcing the District to work under the original request and explain why they are blocking parents, but I am not barred from making another RTKL request for the exact same information. Read the OOR Final Determination of Reconsideration for yourself. It was only about if the District received the request or not… nothing more.
- Octorara Intentionally Blocking Parents from Emailing Teachers (octorarataxes.wordpress.com)
- Octorara Plans to Challenge Office of Open Records Determination(parkesburggazette.wordpress.com)
- OASD Board Denies Receiving Right-To-Know (octorarataxes.wordpress.com)
- “Insiders Are Wanted” – September 16, 2013 Regular Meeting(octorarataxes.wordpress.com)
- “Wish List” or “Wishful Thinking” for Octorara’s new website?(octorarataxes.wordpress.com)