Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Open-records debate hits resident in the wallet

If you need an example of why Pennsylvania must overhaul its open-records law, look no further than Chester County, where a taxpayer was charged $344 for copies of budget information by the Owen J. Roberts School District.

Imagine that. You pay taxes to support the enormous school district operation. You want to know how your tax dollars are spent. You have to fork over $344 to get that information.

Read more about the way government agencies at all levels abuse citizens by using the open-records laws to prevent access to government in this editorial from today's edition of The Mercury.

And don't miss the quote from the school board member about giving information to the public for free. Is that arrogance or what?

"The reason we charge is to prevent the school district from being buried by spurious claims for copying," board member William LaCoff said. "It's happening all over the Commonwealth. We'd have to hire staff to make copies if we gave out every piece of information for free."

Maybe the school district could do with one less assistant superintendent and put the money toward a copying machine.


Anonymous said...

I take my own fax/copier to the school and make my own copies. There are no charges, since I bring my own paper and machine, and it really infuriates the district when I make an appointment to come in, as I am usually there for a few hours.

The administration probably hears beep, beep, in their sleep, as at the end of every page copied, there is a BEEP.

I think hearing beeps is a small price to pay for having a neverending supply of taxpayer money to throw away on any item they wish to purchase, especially when the price tag is 1+ million.

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't they just post all the documents on the internet?