Conway Faculty District turns into more and more secretive below new superintendent

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Should you help transparency in authorities, let the Conway Faculty Board know you’re watching and listening. Remind them and the college administration that:

  • Deleting emails about faculty enterprise inside three days and ideally sooner to keep away from having to show these emails over after Freedom of Data Act requests is something however clear.
  • The entire board’s conferences — not simply those it picks and chooses —  have to be recorded and accessible to the general public for one 12 months below state regulation.

The Conway Faculty Board has quite a lot of conferences, a few of which occur through the work day when many individuals are working and may’t readily attend. It’s these daytime conferences they’re selecting to not document. Solely one of many board’s month-to-month conferences happens at night time, and even then at 6 p.m. as many individuals are simply getting off work.

The board additionally has occasional work classes and weekly luncheons, which weren’t being recorded. Final month, I used to be advised they’d be recorded henceforth.  So, I requested for the recording of the board’s final luncheon, on Friday, and was once more advised there was no recording. As a substitute, I obtained a one-sentence abstract of what occurred on the assembly at an area elementary faculty: “The college’s principal offered details about his faculty to the attendees.” That tells me quite a bit.

Beneath Arkansas’s Freedom of Data Act, also referred to as the open public conferences regulation, board conferences have to be recorded. Exceptions embrace govt classes, however not whole conferences simply because board members don’t need to fear with a recording or don’t need to be outed.

So far as deleted emails go, I discovered as we speak that in August 2021 — the month after Jeff Collum turned superintendent of the Conway Faculty District — the district “made the choice … to routinely delete emails that had not been archived after 72 hours,” Joel Linn, an assistant superintendent, stated in an electronic mail.

Linn added that “the administration felt that was an enough period of time for an worker to handle the content material of the e-mail. That info was despatched to all district workers previous to its going into impact.”

“The district shouldn’t be conscious of this follow being in battle with any federal or state legal guidelines or instructional pointers pertaining to retention of digital information,” Linn stated.

Certainly, the district’s Schedule of Document Retention-Conway requires for much longer retention of some digital information — contracts, lesson plans and transcripts to call solely a only a few of the various examples. However in response to the rules, emails ought to be deleted after they’re learn and with a “most age [of] 3 days if not archived.”

Linn stated the system routinely would save emails pertaining to any pending Freedom of Data Act request. I query the accuracy of that plan, however even when it’s good, what concerning the request despatched on day 4 or 5?

Prefer it or not, this coverage is a poorly veiled try to keep away from public accountability below the FOI Act. The coverage might or might not be authorized. However its spirit is obvious: Secrecy prevails.

Listed here are the board members’ official electronic mail addresses, to which the deletion coverage additionally applies:

milburnbi@conwayschools.internet

hargisl@conwayschools.internet

acklina@conwayschools.internet

leacht@conwayschools.internet

naylord@conwayschools.internet

sandeferj@conwayschools.internet

cunninghamj@conwayschools.internet

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