The Oregon Department of Education has responded to a request for LGBT protections within their schools with a fee estimate of $260 - over five times the previously highest estimate we’ve seen for the same information. The response letter posed that the department, “may charge a fee reasonably calculated to reimburse the agency for actual costs of providing public records,” but reasonably … does not seem to be the case.
A multi-request was sent out to all 50 states in order to gauge school climate for transgender and gender non-conforming students.
While certain states have highlighted the expansive amount of time associated with gathering these files, zero have come close to the rate of Oregon. Even states who required extensions such as New Jersey provided the documents at no charge.
In total, 25 states have already provided the same information at no cost.
Oregon DOE’s cost estimate is perplexing - one hour needed for an education specialist to gather documents is estimated at $43.05, which should mean 2 hours equals out to $86.10. There is no clarification for how these numbers were determined, meaning that there is either no set hourly rate or they waive an initial amount of processing time.
We’re asking Oregon DOE for clarification, but in the meantime, you can donate to a crowdfund to release the records below, and follow the project’s progress here.