Parents in the Linn-Mar School District want answers to numerous questions surrounding Linn-Mar High School’s “trans week” that was sponsored by Spectrum, a student group. You can see how the LGBTQ agenda essentially took over the school at a story here.
It got so bad two female students were allowed to make out on the school’s auditorium stage during school hours in front of a rainbow flag. You can read about that here.
The Iowa Standard filed an open records request with the district regarding the events of the week. The request was filed on Nov. 19.
The district sent an official records request sheet to be filled out on Nov. 23, but that doesn’t follow the law as the original request was more than adequate.
On Dec. 3, district communications coordinator Kevin Fry finally responded.
“Before proceeding to fulfill this request, the District is requiring payment from you in the amount of $504.00 to cover costs to be incurred from the time required for the records to be produced and reviewed for confidential information, pursuant to Iowa Code Section 22.3,” Fry wrote.
The cost breakdown was:
$114 for IT staff to retrieve the records (2 hours x$57/hour)
$390 for attorney time to review/redact for confidential information (1.5 hoursx$260/hour)
“These amounts are estimates,” Fry wrote. “The final payment amount is subject to change depending on the actual costs incurred.”
Fry asked to let him know if The Iowa Standard wanted to move forward and, if so, when the district could expect payment.
A few hours later The Iowa Standard asked how many page/documents there are and if it includes text messages and email communications between all district employees, admins, etc.
That message went unanswered. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, The Iowa Standard called Fry, who said he had been out sick the last couple of days and would get back right away regarding how payment could be submitted.
After not hearing from Fry over the next two days, The Iowa Standard emailed him again on Thursday, Dec. 9 asking how to provide the $504 payment.
On Friday morning, Fry finally responded with an incredibly different estimate for the request to be filled.
“In reviewing the information that I provided to you, the amount quoted is the rate to access each employee record,” Fry explained. “The Linn-Mar Community School District employs just over 1,200 people. The total amount for staff time to retrieve the records and attorney time to review/redact confidential information for the entire district would come to approximately $604,000.”
For being a communications coordinator, it seems Fry isn’t an outstanding communicator.
A few obvious questions are:
*Why will it take two hours to obtain the records (electronically) but only 1.5 hours to actually read through them and redact them?
*How can you estimate how long it will take to review documents when you do not know how many documents need to be reviewed?
*How do you mistakenly provide an estimate of $504 and state that is the total to fulfill the request and then realize you need to multiply that by 1,200?
*Does the district actually employ people who thought this would make sense to anyone?
Perhaps the district thought the $504 estimate would be enough to turn The Iowa Standard away. And perhaps when it wasn’t, the district wanted to drive up the cost. But it seems like going from $504 to $604,000 is a stretch.
The Iowa Standard has reached out to lawmakers regarding this egregious abuse of open records laws.