Public Records Request Log - Idaho Department of Education

Erik Peterson filed this request with the Department of Education of Idaho.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Erik Peterson

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Idaho Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

A log of public records requests submitted to the Department of Education that lists the date of request, the requester's name, the requester's organizational affiliation, a description of the request and the date the request was filled. Ideally I would like this information for the period from 2004 to the present.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, and is made in the process of academic research and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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.

Sincerely,

Erik Peterson
PhD Candidate
Department of Political Science
Stanford University

From: Kelly Everitt

Dear Mr. Peterson:
Attached is the public records request log of the Idaho State Department of Education. Many of the records you requested simply do not exist.
No record such as this one was kept, previously, until the new communications department staff came on board following the election of the new superintendent of public instruction last year. In fact, there was no true organization for records requests. Many went through our department, but others might be sent to individual staff members who replied without even letting anyone else know. They also had varying levels of expertise in knowing what should and what could not be legally produced. I arrived in late January last year and got a crash course in how to legally handle the requests (it became a component of my other duties), and my boss made sure all requests began going through our department so they could be handled consistently.
Besides myself, another staff member was added to the mix in March and by April we had determined there was a crying need to create a log of requests, to keep track of them and where we stood in the process so, if necessary, we could cooperatively work on some of these. Requests simply for information do not get logged in, only those that actually request a record, such as yours for our request log. Although not required by law to create records, we will utilize the services of our IT department to access the student data longitudinal system and produce spreadsheets of aggregate data as requested, thereby creating records. This log you're getting has been enormously helpful in letting us know what we produced and when, so similar requests don't have to be rerun by IT.
By state law (Title 74 of the Idaho Code), we normally have three days to comply, with the date the request is received considered to be Day 0. We can request extensions, but we try very hard not to do so (I'm aware of some agencies that automatically request a 10-day extension when they receive a request). If we can't comply within 3 days, it's almost certainly because the request requires extensive staff time to produce the records. Requestors often don't consider that our staff is busy with their regular jobs. Having to stop and comply with a records request that can eat up days of their time isn't looked upon with the greatest joy. I handle the records requests (among my other public affairs duties) and the look on people's faces when they see me coming is less than priceless, to say the least.
Early on, Francois and I learned that people would sometimes fake the organization they represented (why, we have no idea, perhaps in the belief if they sounded important we'd respond differently - we don't really care - every request is important), so by the time we decided to put together the log we used only the actual requestor's name. Some are members of news organizations, several are researchers, a handful are legislators and many are simply citizens who want to know how their government works or want information to take before a local school board. Why they want the records is not our concern. Our job is to serve the citizens of this state as best we can.
You will notice from the log a number of references to partial denials. We are bound by law to redact certain student data, and in rarer cases some personal data of state employees. The laws we most commonly find that result in redactions are the Idaho Student Data Privacy Act (Idaho Code § 33-133) and the federal FERPA and IDEA legislation. Partial denials and full denials usually undergo a legal review. Idaho Code § 74-115 authorizes a person aggrieved by the denial of a public records request to file a petition in Idaho district court appealing the agency's decision. The petition must be filed in the county where the records are located and within 180 days from the date on which the denial notice was mailed. Not having a record is not the same thing as denying a record, or denying part of a record that does exist. In your case, we simply don't have some of the records you are seeking (back to 2004) or our log doesn't list an item you were seeking (the requester's organizational affiliation). One other note, yellow lines indicate the request is active and hasn't been closed. I can't close yours until I send this e-mail so at the moment I write this your request is still listed in yellow.
I hope this satisfies, as best we could, your request. If you have any questions, or need any other information, please don't hesitate to ask.
Kelly Everitt
Idaho State Department of Education
Communications specialist
(208) 332-6818
keveritt@sde.idaho.gov<mailto:keveritt@sde.idaho.gov>

"Supporting Schools and Students to Achieve"

From: Erik Peterson

Thanks for your response, this is great.

Erik

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