Commentary on the taxpayer funded Madison school district’s non open records practices

Dave Zweifel:

Although you might never know it by last week’s meeting of the Madison School Board, school districts are very much included in the law that requires government — which belongs to and is paid for by the public after all — needs to be transparent in all that it does. There is no room for secrets unless specifically exempted under the law.

To me, the meeting to discuss the embarrassing failure of the Madison Metropolitan School District’s response to open records requests was an embarrassment itself. Administrators tried to explain why the district has become a laggard in fulfilling openness requests, often simply denying access or stonewalling for months to release records that “shall be honored as soon as practicable and without delay.”

They revealed that the job that long ago was designated as the records custodian, the person responsible for releasing requested public records, no longer exists. Instead, the district’s legal department has been taxed with the job and apparently is overwhelmed by other tasks.

That’s patently unacceptable, and I’m surprised School Board members didn’t demand an accounting. No governmental body can just ignore the law because it refuses to assign adequate staff to comply with it.


But one of the lawsuits was actually filed by the district’s own spokesman, Tim LeMonds. After the district determined it had to release a complaint against LeMonds by his staff, the tight-lipped LeMonds — whose job is supposed to be communicating with the public — sued his employer to stop disclosure.

You can’t make this stuff up — or justify it.

More, here.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?