YUKON — Attorneys for Yukon Public Schools recently told a local woman she will have to pay $65,000 to fulfill an open records request that would yield more than a quarter million pages of documents.
District Superintendent Bill Denton said the latest request from Debbie Wright, whose daughter once attended Yukon schools, is so big it would take “several months” to complete and would cripple his district.
The April 15 open records request, one of dozens made by Wright in recent months, demands copies of emails between two groups of district employees. Included in that group are Denton and other high-ranking district officials.
Wright said she believes the district is asking her to pay $65,000 “to make me stop doing open records requests.” She said the April 15 request is related to a bullying lawsuit she filed against the district in November.
“With the records I've requested from them, I've found things that are very informative to me,” Wright said. “That keeps me plugging along. If every time I do one I find stuff that shows the school is doing wrong, it keeps me asking more questions.”
Wright and another parent of a Yukon student are suing the school district in Canadian County District Court.
The suit alleges Wright's daughter and another girl, now seniors in high school, were harassed and bullied by fellow students and former vocational agriculture instructors after an investigation into Yukon's FFA program.
The two girls were targeted because Wright, her husband and the other parent discovered a former agriculture instructor was “skimming” on livestock purchases, the suit alleges.
An investigative audit into the district's FFA program uncovered numerous instances of possible misconduct and confirmed that some instructors were charging some parents more than they paid for livestock, a practice known as “skimming.”
Wright's daughter has since left Yukon schools and is finishing her senior in another part of the state. The other parent's daughter still is enrolled at the high school.
After filing dozens of open records requests, Wright has spent countless hours doing research and poring over documents. She's also spent a considerable amount of money in the process.
“It's in the thousands ... easy,” Wright said. “And I'll pay this one if I have to. By them doing this, it makes it seem as though they have something to hide.”
‘Abuse the system'
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When the district designates employees for open records' requests, the employees are unable to perform their regularly assigned duties for the district,” Danker-Pearce said. “It disrupts the normal flow of support services to our students, teachers, board, parents, staff and community.”
Spokeswoman for Yukon Public Schools