CPSD CRLS course schedule spreadsheets for multiple years

Philomena Holt filed this request with the Cambridge Public Schools of Cambridge, MA.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # SPR17-1134
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Elaine Carrieri

I will be out of the office on Wednesday, June 7th

From: Philomena Holt

Are you back in the office?

From: Elaine Carrieri

Hello,

Please be advised:

These requests should be fowarded to our Legal Counsel, Maureen MacFarlane mmacfarlane@cpsd.us

Please confirm receipt of this message.

Thank you

Elaine Carrieri
Secretary
Office of the Superintendent
Cambridge Public Schools
617-349-6494

From: Philomena Holt

Are you able to pass this request to Maureen?

From: Philomena Holt

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10, I hereby request the following records:

List of courses scheduled at CRLS during the 2017-2018 school year including course code, section number, room number, instructor, time period, and projected enrollment.

As in April 2017, please provide the master schedule reports produced from the school district's scheduling system as it is most easily produced including schedule and non-schedule data fields, as described in your previous letter.
The electronic spreadsheet format as provided in response to the previous request will be useful.
I understand that the CRLS 2017-2018 schedule had not yet been planned and this report was therefore unavailable in April 2017.
If is now available, I hope you will be able to respond with the 2017-2018 master schedule.
Thank you.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Philomena Holt

From: Simpson, Jennifer

Dear Ms. Holt,
The response to your public records request of June 23, 2017 is attached.
Thanks!
Jennifer

Jennifer Simpson
Public Records Access Officer
City of Cambridge, Law Department
City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 349-4121 ● Fax: (617) 349-4134
jsimpson@cambridgema.gov<mailto:jsimpson@cambridgema.gov>

From: Philomena Holt

Dear Ms. Simpson,

It is not obvious to me how the draft list of courses scheduled for the upcoming school year can be construed to be a record "related solely to internal personnel rules and practices of the government unit" OR "intra-agency memoranda or letters relating to policy positions being developed by the agency". I do not believe that the list of courses and estimated enrollments scheduled at a public school is either a policy memorandum or is related solely to internal personnel rules and practices. It is exactly the kind of public record that the citizens have a legal right to inspect and copy. Therefore, I disagree that either exception (b) or (d) applies to this record. It is clearly a public record within the intended meaning of MGL chapter 4 section 7 clause 26.

Specifically the schedule of courses and their currently anticipated enrollment levels is a public document that describes clearly to the public the scope and extent of the public educational services provided by the school department. The public can benefit from knowing which course subjects are being taught to how many students on what schedule, thereby gaining a more detailed understanding of the actual extent of public instruction than is provided in published school department reports. It has little or no relationship to personnel rules or practices and certainly is not "solely" or even primarily related to such rules and practices. It is not a memoranda or letter related to or describing policy positions in development. To the extent that it could be construed as a "factual studies or reports on which the development of such policy positions has been or may be based", it would fall within the restriction in exception (d), stating that "this subclause shall not apply to reasonably completed factual studies". If the school department is, in fact, developing a policy position and the draft course schedule is a "factual study" on which such policy position has been or may be based, then the draft schedule for courses beginning in September 2017 is already "reasonably completed". Construed as a factual study of the current extent of public instruction within the school, that study is reasonably complete by the time its contents are being relied upon for the distribution of individual schedules to various participants.

If you would like to explain in more detail why you believe exception (b) applies, that is how the list of scheduled courses and their anticipated enrollments are "related solely to personnel rules or practices" in spite of them clearly also being related to a matter of legitimate public interest (the extent and availability of public education to the citizens of Cambridge), please do reply. Similarly, if you can provide more detailed information as to why exception (d) applies, that is, how the list of scheduled courses and their anticipated enrollments is a memorandum or letter about a policy in development, please do so.

According to the Massachusetts standard, even if a record were to be solely related to personnel rules or practices, disclosure would be expected unless the proper performance of a government function will be inhibited. Your letter says that "proper performance of necessary government functions requires such withholding at this time". Could you please explain how the disclosure of the schedule of courses will inhibit the proper performance of a function of the school department?

Perhaps, in spite of the schedule of courses not being "solely related" to personnel practices, you have a concern about certain fields included in the master schedule report somehow affecting the performance of a function of the school department. If so, then perhaps there is a mutually agreeable adjustment to this request that, in your opinion, would enable it to be conveniently and properly processed without the necessity of us reaching agreement or otherwise appealing any disagreement about the proper application and legal interpretation of exceptions (b) and (d).

I would of course prefer that you respond by providing the requested public records immediately, rather than have to appeal your denial to the supervisor of public records or to the superior court as you suggest.

Thank you.

From: Simpson, Jennifer

Dear Ms. Holt,

The CRLS course schedule was withheld citing Exemptions (b) and (d) because it is an unfinished draft. I have bolded the pertinent language from the response letter indicating the document was withheld because it has not been finalized:

The City is treating your e-mail inquiry as a public records request pursuant to G.L. c. 66, § 10. Because the CRLS 2017-2018 course schedule has not been finalized, the information requested is exempt from disclosure pursuant to Exemption (b) and Exemption (d) of the Public Records Law as the draft documents relate solely to internal personnel rules and practices of the School Department and proper performance of necessary governmental functions requires such withholding at this time, and the draft documents involve intra-agency policy positions being developed by the School Department.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Simpson
Public Records Access Officer
City of Cambridge, Law Department
City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 349-4121 ● Fax: (617) 349-4134
jsimpson@cambridgema.gov<mailto:jsimpson@cambridgema.gov>

From: Philomena Holt

Could you please explain why you believe the not-finalized schedule of courses relates "solely" to internal personnel rules and practices of the school department?

It seems clear that a document describing the number of students enrolled in classes of various subjects, indicating the relative proportion of time students om high school may be expected to spend studying history, literature, mathematics, science, music, and other topics is a matter of obvious public interest that is not solely or even primarily related to internal personnel rules.

It is not even apparent how a course schedule is related to "internal" personnel rules at all, even if the scheduling of instructor teaching loads is in fact constrained by personnel rules documented in published teacher contracts.

Thank you.

From: Philomena Holt

I would like to appeal this request to the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records.
The request is for the schedule of courses with certain details per section of course including instructor, enrollment, schedule time, and other fields as readily available in a master schedule report from the Aspen course scheduling system.

The response claims exemption from FOIA based on an exception for documents that relate solely to internal personnel rules and practices.
No relationship at all to internal personnel rules and practices is specifically cited. If there is one, it seem surely the case that the schedule of courses and their enrollment is not "solely" so related, as it relates, even more significantly, to the number and availability of a great variety of courses to the students of the Cambridge school district.

The response further claims that the document relates to intra-agency policy positions under development by the school department, and is a working draft. No policy position under development has been specified.

The response asserts that proper performance of a necessary government function would be impeded by the release of this non-final document at this time. No specific such function is specified, nor how it would be impeded by public release of the master schedule.

If the supervisor of public records finds that the master schedule as described is exempt from foia for the specified reasons, I request that the responding agency be asked to propose a simple way to remove specific columns or rows from the spreadsheet (the 2016-2017 version of which was provided earlier this year in response to a previous request), such that a less-complete report of the master schedule could be released without impeding the performance of a necessary government function.

Thank you.

From: Cambridge Public Schools

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Simpson, Jennifer

Dear Ms. Holt,
The response to your public records request of August 11, 2017 is attached.
Thanks!
Jennifer

Jennifer Simpson
Public Records Access Officer
City of Cambridge, Law Department
City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 349-4121 ● Fax: (617) 349-4134
jsimpson@cambridgema.gov<mailto:jsimpson@cambridgema.gov>

From: Cambridge Public Schools

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Puccini, Angela M (SEC)

Ms. Holt,

I am writing in regards to the above mentioned appeal as our office was notified that a response was provided to you as required by the determination letter issued for this appeal. I am also writing to remind you that should you need anything further with regards to this matter please be sure to email us at pre@sec.state.ma.us<mailto:pre@sec.state.ma.us> and note any associated appeal, what you are taking issue with and that you would like a new appeal to assess that matter.

Should you require nothing further, you are not required to take any action at this time.

Most sincerely,

Angela M. Puccini, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Public Records Division
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2832 (office)
(617) 727-5914 (fax)
http://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/preidx.htm
A Guide to Public Records Law:
https://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/A-Guide-to-Massachusetts-Public-Records-Law-2017-Edition.pdf
Review appeal determinations online: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/appealsweb/appealsstatus.aspx

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