Complaints Against Massachusetts Private and Charter Schools

Nicole Bousquet filed this request with the Department of Education of Massachusetts.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Nicole Bousquet

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All complaints filed against Massachusetts private schools, charter schools, or department-approved private special education schools or placements, between 2009 and 2015.

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 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. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Nicole Bousquet

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on March 25, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Varon, Joshua (DOE)

Ms. Bousquet,

I write to respond to your public record request, copied below. The volume of records you have requested is, at first glance, very large and production may be complicated. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) aims to respond to all public record requests quickly and free of charge. Without inquiring as to the motivation of your request, we may request additional information so that we can prioritize the production of the records in which you are most interested in from the volume that will respond to your request.

I have scheduled a meeting with the custodians of these records for next week. At this time, I will provide to you a status update on our progress processing this request.

Thank you,

Josh Varon
Legal Counsel
MA Dept. of Elem. and Sec. Ed.
jvaron@doe.mass.edu<mailto:jvaron@doe.mass.edu>
781-338-3409

April 9, 2015
Department of Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

This is a follow up to a previous request:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on March 25, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

---

On March 25, 2015:

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All complaints filed against Massachusetts private schools, charter schools, or department-approved private special education schools or placements, between 2009 and 2015.

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 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. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Nicole Bousquet

Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on March 25, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Varon, Joshua (DOE)

Dear Ms. Bousquet:

I write to respond to your public record request, copied below. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ("Department") received this request on March 27, 2015 and responded to it initially on April 9, 2015.

Attached to this email is a record, possessed by the Department, which most closely responds to the request. As I suggested to you in my email, dated April 9, 2015, as used in your request, the term "complaint" refers to a variety of types of correspondence received by the Department on a daily basis. Without more information regarding the specific records you seek, the Department can only guess what you intend by your request.

To respond, therefore, the Department has interpreted the term "complaint" to refer to the documentation submitted by individuals who formally file complaints in the Departmen'ts Problem Resolution System, monitored by the Department's office of Program Quality Assurance. This interpretation may seem narrow, but in School Year 2015 alone the interpretation applies to 375 "complaints" - each of which has been processed, investigated, and responded to. Many complaints also have been resolved and closed.

Although your request seeks records dating back to 2009, before producing to you these records I ask that you first review the attached responsive record. This record consists not only of complaints regarding charter schools, private schools, and approved private programs, but of all "complaints" filed to the PRS, monitored by PQA. As you are likely aware, the Public Records Law applies to records that currently exist; it imposes on Record Custodian's no obligation to create new records. For this reason, there are no redactions to the attached document.

Ultimately, the Public Records Law requires Department staff to use their superior knowledge of records to identify and produce the records that best respond to the request. At the same time, the Public Records Law also imposes on requesting parties the responsibility to describe records with some specificity. As written, your request does not describe specific records maintained by the Department. The attached example reflects our best estimate of what you may be looking for.

If, after reviewing the attached record, you wish to modify your request or to provide more information that will help the Department identify exactly what you are looking for, please let me know. As described above, however, on a daily basis the Department receives volumes of communications that can be considered "complaints." Absent more information about exactly what you are looking for, given the volume of potentially responsive records, production will require an extremely long time and payment in accordance with 950 CMR 32.06.

Thank you,

Josh Varon
Legal Counsel
MA Dept. of Elem. and Sec. Ed.
jvaron@doe.mass.edu<mailto:jvaron@doe.mass.edu>
781-338-3409

March 25, 2015
Department of Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All complaints filed against Massachusetts private schools, charter schools, or department-approved private special education schools or placements, between 2009 and 2015.

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 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. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Nicole Bousquet

Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 16890
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

From: Varon, Joshua (DOE)

Dear Ms. Bousquet:

I write to respond to your public record request, copied below. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ("Department") received this request on March 27, 2015 and responded to it initially on April 9, 2015.

Attached to this email is a record, possessed by the Department, which most closely responds to the request. As I suggested to you in my email, dated April 9, 2015, as used in your request, the term "complaint" refers to a variety of types of correspondence received by the Department on a daily basis. Without more information regarding the specific records you seek, the Department can only guess what you intend by your request.

To respond, therefore, the Department has interpreted the term "complaint" to refer to the documentation submitted by individuals who formally file complaints in the Departmen'ts Problem Resolution System, monitored by the Department's office of Program Quality Assurance. This interpretation may seem narrow, but in School Year 2015 alone the interpretation applies to 375 "complaints" - each of which has been processed, investigated, and responded to. Many complaints also have been resolved and closed.

Although your request seeks records dating back to 2009, before producing to you these records I ask that you first review the attached responsive record. This record consists not only of complaints regarding charter schools, private schools, and approved private programs, but of all "complaints" filed to the PRS, monitored by PQA. As you are likely aware, the Public Records Law applies to records that currently exist; it imposes on Record Custodian's no obligation to create new records. For this reason, there are no redactions to the attached document.

Ultimately, the Public Records Law requires Department staff to use their superior knowledge of records to identify and produce the records that best respond to the request. At the same time, the Public Records Law also imposes on requesting parties the responsibility to describe records with some specificity. As written, your request does not describe specific records maintained by the Department. The attached example reflects our best estimate of what you may be looking for.

If, after reviewing the attached record, you wish to modify your request or to provide more information that will help the Department identify exactly what you are looking for, please let me know. As described above, however, on a daily basis the Department receives volumes of communications that can be considered "complaints." Absent more information about exactly what you are looking for, given the volume of potentially responsive records, production will require an extremely long time and payment in accordance with 950 CMR 32.06.

Thank you,

Josh Varon
Legal Counsel
MA Dept. of Elem. and Sec. Ed.
jvaron@doe.mass.edu<mailto:jvaron@doe.mass.edu>
781-338-3409

March 25, 2015
Department of Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All complaints filed against Massachusetts private schools, charter schools, or department-approved private special education schools or placements, between 2009 and 2015.

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 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. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Nicole Bousquet

Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 16890
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

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