The Scottsdale school board agreed Tuesday night to charge for photocopies made in response to public records requests.
On a 5-0 vote, the board passed an amended version of the proposal submitted by Scottsdale Unified School District spokesman Tom Herrmann that it charge 20 cents per page for such requests. After discussion and questions from several board members, it was decided that the policy change will be accepted for instances where public records aren’t available electronically. Further, that the district will continue to accommodate parent groups with such information at no charge.
"What we’re trying to do is cover costs," Herrmann said before the meeting. "We don’t want the records request to be a drain on our budget or the district budget. A typical request is four or five pages. Other districts around the Valley charge 10 to 25 cents or more per page."
Board member Christine Schild asked how many of the 25,000 copies Herrmann said were made Sept. 1, 2003, to Jan. 31 related to the case of former Sequoya Elementary School principal Maureen Booth, who was accused of changing test scores to bring in teacher bonuses. The accusations were dropped, but the district was left with a $225,000 attorneys’ bill.
Herrmann agreed the matter made up a large portion of the request. But, he added that there are still enough such requests to warrant a charge.
Board clerk Karen Beckvar said she was concerned about a "nuisance factor" and if the measure would bring enough funds to offset it.
"We don’t want to create a burden," Herrmann responded. It was agreed a charge will protect the district from a large request, such as one Herrmann said a television station made for all documents relating to traffic accidents involving school buses.
Superintendent John Baracy also introduced Kim Clark as the district’s first inhouse attorney. She most recently worked for Phoenix law firm Steptoe & Johnson.