District Overwhelmed by PRA Requests

A recent article in the Mercury News found here  describes how increases in Public Records Act (PRA) requests to the District have overwhelmed personnel. 

The topic of PRA requests is also on the agenda for tonight’s school board meeting. In the supporting information which can be found here, the Superintendent provides the following information about the nature and volume of recent PRA requests. Since the involuntary transfer of teachers and staff from West Valley, requests for information have increased significantly.

Number of different PRA requests from June 10, 2016 – October 12, 2016:
• Twenty four (24) distinct requests

Number of different PRA requests from July 1, 2015 – May 15, 2016:
• Forty (40) distinct requests

Number of different PRA ‘requests from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015:
• Eight (8) distinct requests

The District’s lack of transparency and openness isn’t a belief held by a few. According to the Superintendent, nearly 50 different people submitted the PRA requests above. This issue of trust in CUSD leadership is pervasive and felt by parents and community members across the district. As an article in the Mercury News states: “It’s all part of the price of mistrust…”

When faced with dilemmas or widespread issues, effective and succesful organizations focus on preventing problems – not just dealing with them. They thoughtfully consider how and why events occur and what they can do to prevent them in the first place. Here are some examples:

  • Fire prevention saves lives every day with a much lower cost than firefighting
  • Health insurance companies now cover wellness visits to prevent illnesses
  • Companies provide online help to prevent calls to customer support

If only the Superintendent and Board members would thoughtfully consider the same…What are the real issues behind all these PRA requests from the community? And what can they do to prevent them in the future?

Transparency and community involvement would be a good start…

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