Yukon Public Schools demands $65K to fulfill massive open records request

Attorneys for Yukon Public Schools recently demanded that a local couple pay $65,000 to fulfill an open records request that would yield more than a quarter million documents.
by Andrew Knittle Published: May 6, 2013

Dawn Danker-Pearce, a spokeswoman for Yukon Public Schools, said in a prepared statement that the district is demanding a $65,000 deposit because it “would need to allocate full-time personnel ... to retrieve the information and full-time administrative and legal staff to review the information for confidential information which must be redacted.”

Danker-Pearce said Wright has filed “more than 45 records requests with the school district since late 2011.”

The latest one, she said, is “over 25 GB of data and will exceed 250,000 pages, assuming one page per email.”

“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.”

In the past, Denton has been critical of Wright's open records request, saying on more than one occasion that Wright is “bullying” the district with numerous information requests.

In her prepared statement, Danker-Pearce echoed the sentiments expressed by Denton in the past. She also noted that Yukon Public Schools has “responded to every single open records request” made by Wright.

“The impact of nearly 50 open records requests from one individual is enormous ... we've worked tremendously hard in recent months to become a more accountable and transparent district,” Danker-Pearce said.

“However, it's challenging to perform our daily essential functions when one individual is allowed to abuse the system.”

Previous records issues

The Wrights already have won an open records lawsuit against Yukon Public Schools.

In October, a Canadian County district judge ordered the school district to pay $18,203 in attorneys' fees and other costs after the district refused to turn over an investigative report that showed serious problems within Yukon's vocational agricultural program.

Denton said the report was withheld on the advice of the district's legal counsel and expressed relief when the judge ordered the report to be made public. The Wrights had been seeking the report for roughly six months.

“It's a relief, I know, for our board, and myself, to be able to release this,” Denton said at the time. “I wish more people could understand why we weren't able to do that and go against the advice of our legal counsel.”

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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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.”

Dawn Danker-Pearce,
Spokeswoman for Yukon Public Schools

about why the district is asking $65,000 to cover the costs of processing Debbie Wright's open records request

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