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March 4, 2024

IL. State Board of Education Backtracks, Produces Email Addresses –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 1, 2023

Springfield, Ill. (ECWd) –

After our November 18th article on the Illinois State Board of Education’s (“ISBE”) refusal to provide the email addresses of its employees, and our filing of a Request for Review with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (“PAC”), the ISBE changed their minds and provided the requested public records as they should have in the first place.

Here is the email from ISBE, attached to the email was a pdf with the information requested:

Ms. Harter,

We are in receipt of your letter dated November 17, 2023, regarding the above-referenced request for review. Upon further evaluation, and in the spirit of cooperation, we have determined to provide the requested records to Mr. Kraft. They are attached here. We believe this resolves the matter, but please reach out if you would like any further information regarding the request or have additional questions.

Thank you,

Kelly Bapst

Assistant Legal Counsel

Illinois State Board of Education

What we find interesting is while the ISBE did provide the requested email addresses, it apparently attempted to do so in a way to make it difficult for a computer to extract the information electronically. Instead of an Excel spreadsheet as was previously provided for the employee names and positions in clear print and sortable, it looks like the ISBE took extra time and effort to physically print it several generations deep and in extra low quality trying to make it too blurry for a computer to read (see example here).

Never fear, our software can quickly overcome this obstacle placed in front of it.

It only makes us wonder what kind of meeting took place and who made the decision to waste so much time on this document production in order to “technically” comply with the Freedom of Information Act, while clearly trying to make it more difficult for the recipient of the records.

We give them a C- for this ridiculous stunt…

 

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7 Comments
  • Stan
    Posted at 09:02h, 01 December

    “…and in the spirit of cooperation, we have decided to provide…”

    BS, because its the LAW. Don’t you just love the spin?

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 09:31h, 01 December

      yep – I was hoping someone would comment on that part

    • Dave
      Posted at 11:07h, 01 December

      They can’t admit they aren’t above the law

  • Brian K Anderson
    Posted at 10:54h, 01 December

    I assume PAC will provide a final determination letter regarding this matter after reviewing all supporting correspondence and information. It would be interesting to know if PAC accepts the delayed “spirit of cooperation” to outweigh the true “spirit of law”. Please share PAC’s final determination if possible.

  • kathiann
    Posted at 11:43h, 01 December

    Ha ha! That’s almost as bad as the response a school district’s lawyer gave to the Attorney General on my complaint to the PAC: “The practice in __ for many years was to appoint such committees in name, but for the committees to rarely meet or function. The full Board considered business which otherwise would be considered by committees. Finally, in the spring of 2023, the Board ceased its practice of naming standing committees.” (He lied; they violated OMA) Everyone is in cover up mode…and taxpayers have to pay for it.

    As the “spirit of cooperation” comment, It sounds like they are scared of the Dogs…lol!

  • Edgar
    Posted at 11:56h, 01 December

    I was hoping you’d require them to produce the data in its original format, whether it’s a spreadsheet or the original PDF. As you know, you’d be well within your rights to do that.

  • elizabeth downs
    Posted at 23:26h, 07 December

    So where is all of it is this ??

$