Danedri Thompson
USD 231 may not devote time to respond to future inquiries from The Gardner News.
That’s the word from Leann Northway, school communications director, in response to requests for comment about stories the newspaper is developing comparing the salary of USD 231 superintendent Bill Gilhaus with that of superintendents in other districts and about the school’s technology department.
The request for comments was granted, but future requests may not be.
In an email, Northway wrote, “The school district has accommodated every inquiry from the Gardner News staff; yet, with disappointment, has resulted in very little positive reflection on the school district.”
According to the school district, the newspaper has made 18 open records requests since last May, when a new policy that increased open records rates was instituted. The numbers do not include requests for comments from school officials about the school lunch program or comments about Gilhaus’ salary.
“We will, of course, comply with our responsibility as a school district to reply to valid requests under the Kansas Open Records Act subject to the school district’s right under the law to be compensated for the actual costs incurred by the district for furnishing copies and the cost of staff time required to make the information available,” Northway wrote.
In its most recent open records request, the newspaper paid $217 for 24 pages detailing the base salary of all USD 231 employees. The newspaper’s full request for salary information that included supplemental contract pay and longevity pay was not granted.
“I will be happy to accommodate your requests related to students and staff success stories at any time,” Northway wrote.
Today, the newspaper will be asking the district for preliminary enrollment numbers for the 2012-2013 school year. Official headcounts, used to determine state aid, are based on Sept. 20 attendance records.
The newspaper also is still awaiting a response to a request for a refund related to one request. The Gardner News paid $192 for a monthly expense report that was put on the USD 231 web site a few days after the request was made.