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3/10/14 12:51 PM XFINITY Connect: Fwd: Fwd: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to information-- just an FYI

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From : Debra & Gary Kolrud <>
Subject : Fwd: Fwd: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to information-- just an FYI
To :
Cc :
Tue, May 17, 2011 09:46 AM
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Debra & Gary Kolrud" <>
To: "Josef Kunzler" <>
Cc:, George@GeorgeNervik.Com,
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 1:36:05 PM
Subject: Re: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to information-- just an FYI
Dj vu!!
When I read Jessica's post it was like reading my own continued battle with the Monroe School Board and Superintendent. I too am a School Director (elected not appointed)
and a WCOG Key award recipient, who is also being denied the same rights and opportunity to be informed of District business along with being denied access to guidance
provided by the District's attorney.

Just like Jessica, Ive been denied the ability to be an informed elected official relating to the business of the District. The Monroe School District currently has attorneys
representing the District side in an administrative hearing over the education of a disabled student, but the District has not provided the Board with a single piece of
information on what the case is even about, much less the merits or position of the District. The Board is completely uniformed on this matter even thought the District
Attorneys have been brought in. The only information the Board did receive was a copy of the original filling for hearing by the parent -- but that document was emailed to the
full board by the actual parent!

The Superintendent is telling the board that we cannot talk to this parent to find out what is going on, and had the attorney tell us the same thing. But when I emailed the
attorney back with questions on what he told the Board, the Superintendent told our board, in writing, that he (the Superintendent) had directed the attorney not to respond to
me and that if I wanted a response, the board would have to vote on the matter. Which of course the other four will not do. They say they do not need the information and that
this matter is purely administrative.

That is the summary version of the story. Here is the long version with more detail:

This started with my simple request for an Executive Session to provide the Board the opportunity to be informed. The Superintendent refused my request, saying
Directors had no role in this process and the right of privacy to the students limits Directors ability to be informed. Since my comments were made in open public meeting
the Superintendent wanted to ensure he wasnt challenged again, so he initiated guidance from the District Attorney to repeat what he had told us. This attorney guidance
provided to the Board was of course marked privilege attorney/client commutation. Even though I didn't challenge that the communication was privileged, I had more
questions than answers that appeared to conflict with my role as an elected representative to the people. So I sent the attorney a few questions to gain clarity on his
guidance. The Superintendent sent back an email that stated:

Debra, I want you to know that I contacted Mr. Thompson and asked him to not
spend any billable time on this. I believe his directions to the board were clear and
we shouldn't spend hundreds of dollars or more on this topic unless the majority of
the board feels it is necessary. Please bring this up during board comments if you
want to continue the discussion. Thanks. Ken.

I then sent the Attorney a simpler email that stated one Question only:
Is there a contract/policy that provides the Superintendent,
Dr, Ken Hoover the authority to limit and or prohibit the Districts attorney to reply
to questions asked from a Director of the District in direct response to information
supplied by the Districts attorney, in this case the "privilege attorney/client

The Superintendent responded with this:
Do not persist in contacting the attorney because he has been directed to not respond.

The attorney has never responded to any of my questions, taking his marching orders directly from a Superintendent over a Director. How ironic a Superintendent can seek
legal council guidance and then direct the Districts attorney to not response to questions from a Director relating to this guidance! The Board continues to back the
Superintendent 100% and has no desire to be informed of this legal issued before the District.

The Superintendent has even denied me the opportunity to have a meeting with him individually to discuss this Due Process case. I have also been denied my request for
copies of all the filling and documents relating to this Due Process Hearing. A complete shut out!! Aren't school directors entitled to know the nature of disputes that arise over
the education of students in their districts?

I completely understand and share Jessica frustration. As elected official who are members of a governing body, we are being denied information that limits our ability to
hold our District accountable to the public.

Debra Kolrud
3/10/14 12:51 PM XFINITY Connect: Fwd: Fwd: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to information-- just an FYI
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Josef Kunzler" <>
Cc:, George@GeorgeNervik.Com
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 9:50:58 PM
Subject: RE: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to information-- just an FYI

!osef here. l Lhlnk you need Lo be aware of Lhls. lL seems Lo
me as lf Lhere are serlous legal lssues regardlng a school dlrecLor's/board member's
ablllLy Lo do her [ob.

l speak from experlence when l say for years, Lhe educaLlonal
lndusLrlal complex has Lrled Lo program lLself and board members lnLo groupLhlnk
vla a game of fllLerlng lnformaLlon and rubber sLamps lnsLead of geLLlng Lhe
facLs ouL Lhere and flndlng lnnovaLlve ways Lo solve Lhe problem(s) of Lhe day.
Popefully Lhe SLaLe ALLorney Ceneral's Cfflce can welgh ln.



.S. !esslca Clsen won Lhe WashCCC key Award a whlle back, as
has PeaLher "newsbrooke" 8rooke.

[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 3:37 PM
Subject: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to
information-- just an FYI


I am an elected school director in the Everett School District.
In March of this year, our board voted to authorize the ability for each
director to view unredacted legal invoices our district incurs (see the
minutes, here)
by making an appointment with the district's public records officer where the
legal invoices are housed.

This morning I had a 9:30am appointment (made four days ago)
to view these invoices, but I received a phone call from the public records
officer one hour before, informing me that the superintendent was removing
these invoices from the public records custody to review them first, and
that he would be taking possession of them for a week or more. Upon a
subsequent discussion with the board president to discuss the matter, the
board president told me that he had "authorized" the superintendent
"as custodian of the district's records" to withhold these records
from my review, pending the outcome of an upcoming Nov 2 board meeting! --
wherein the board intends to revisit the issue of director access to documents.

3/10/14 12:51 PM XFINITY Connect: Fwd: Fwd: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to information-- just an FYI
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I have now been reduced to making a public records request
for these documents, which will surely NOT be produced for my inspection in an
unredacted format.

The board president has justified his actions by contending
it is improper for a school director to have refused to permit district staff
to redact a director's copy of a letter from OSPI sent to the district (a
letter which acknowledged OSPI's receipt of a complaint by a parent of a special
education student in the district, AND informed the district of a
commencement of an investigation into the allegations made against the district
by OSPI). I have contended it is well within the bounds of the law for an
elected government official to possess an unredacted copy of any letter sent to
the public agency the elected official serves by the state, regardless of
whether that letter contains student identity information, as it is only the improper
release of such information that would pose a problem with privacy laws.
The president and the rest of the board disagree, and contend my possession of
such a document is "unauthorized", and as a result the board must now
address the way in which school directors are entitled to view and possess information
(information that, ironically, district staff have regular and unfettered
access to) via an amendment to protocol or policy at our upcoming November 2
board meeting.

This is not a new problem. Earlier in the year, I was denied
the ability to access the electronic versions of all federal and state grants
our district applies for, that are housed on the state's (OSPI's) electronic
grant administration system, "iGrants" -- the rationale given at the
time being that the district had to maintain the integrity of the data -- even
if the access I had requested was only "read only" access (access
many district staff members also have). I was also told during one executive
session that school directors could not possess copies of "draft"
documents containing potential salary amounts for administrators, and that I
was required to hand back these "draft" document to district staff.
[I refused, believing school directors absolutely have a right possess copies
of this information if school staff are allowed to access it and possess copies
of it.]

My question to the list is how can an elected school
director govern if directors can't even get access to basic information. I
cannot even get the district's attorney to respond to my questions, yet the
superintendent has unfettered access to the attorney -- all with the approval
of the other four board members.

I am all about open government and am working my tail off --
but this is getting really, really tiring when it is just me working by myself
vs. every board member, the district's attorney, and all of the district staff
pooling their efforts together to thwart director access and thwart open
government issues.

Don't mean to make this a whiney post, but frankly, I am
running out of ideas. I simply don't have time to be filing pro se in superior
court each time they pull these shenanigans, which are occurring with a
disturbing, ever-increasing frequency.

Jessica Olson
Director, Everett School District

WCOGDiscussion mailing list
3/10/14 12:51 PM XFINITY Connect: Fwd: Fwd: [WCOG Discussion] Rant on elected officials' access to information-- just an FYI
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