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More open records games

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: June 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm •  Published: January 11, 2013

The Oklahoma City School Board this week denied applications from two charter schools. Why? That’s anyone’s guess.

The district’s legal counsel, Tammy Carter, gave board members a “confidential memorandum” spelling out problems with the charter school applications. She later rejected The Oklahoman’s open records request to see the memo.Carter contends that because the memo was from her to the board, the documents are shielded by attorney-client privilege.

According to the law, that privilege applies only if documents deal with pending litigation where disclosure “will seriously impair the ability of the public officer or agency to process the claim or conduct a pending investigation, litigation or proceeding in the public interest.”

How does that apply in this case? It doesn’t. As Oklahoma State University professor and open records expert Joey Senat put it: “The school district’s playing games with the Open Records Act.”

It’s just the latest in a long line of cases where public bodies in Oklahoma have skirted, often intentionally, the state’s open records and open meetings laws. Shameful.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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