School Board addresses FOIA request

By Ryan Cornell

WOODSTOCK — The Shenandoah County School Board responded to recent news about Freedom of Information Act requests for employee salary data at its meeting Thursday night.

In December, District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey had asked for detailed salary data of school employees and did not want to pay the $700 price that Division Superintendent Jeremy Raley had quoted for producing the data. The price was said to be proportionate to the time and resources used to fulfill the request. Bailey’s request failed to draw support from the county’s board of supervisors.

School board Chairman Richard Koontz opened the meeting by addressing the headlines and comments regarding the price.

“There’s been a lot of publicity and a lot of talk about the ability to get information from the School Board and I just want to make sure we all understand the facts and understand how we do things when it comes to getting information out,” he said. “We have always done this the same way. We have policies in place to handle requests for information.”

If a School Board member requests information and it can be retrieved quickly, Koontz said the information is given to them. He said that if it “takes a fair amount of time” to retrieve, the School Board would have to meet and reach a consensus before the information is provided.

“And that’s to help our staff with their time constraints and to make sure it is the type of information that this board needs,” he said. “We extend that same invitation to our supervisors.”

Koontz said any requests from supervisors are treated the same as requests from School Board members.

“We are not withholding information, we are following policy and we will continue to do so,” he said.

Board member Kathryn Holsinger said it isn’t a “casual made-out-of-the-sky policy” and has always been in effect.

“This board is not trying to thwart information to citizens or the community,” she said. “We have a policy for FOIA. There’s a simple form to be filled out and that form will be returned with information on it. That’s all there is to it.”

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com