Jeffco schools not as transparent with open records as law requires

By The Complete Colorado:  Although Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education members continue to promise transparency, many employees the district seem to have missed the memo.

Recent open records requests from Complete Colorado have been met with obstruction, possible illegally inflated charges, and timing issues that all could be violations of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).

Colorado laws state that records must be available for public view within three working days of the time the request is made, unless there are extenuating circumstances that require additional time. In that case, they must be available in seven days. It also caps the amount of charges a government entity can assess for filling the request at $30 per hour, with the first hour free.

None of Complete Colorado’s requests fit the extenuating circumstances definition, which includes such reasons as large amounts of documents, broad requests, or no resources to complete the request.  And all of them were met with the possibility of an additional charge of $78 per hour for legal review — above and beyond charges that would have already been assessed at $30 per hour for retrieving the documents.

In one particular instance, a member of the JeffCo Communications team waited until the end of the third day to contact Complete Colorado with charge estimates—despite repeated attempts to clarify the law, including sending her the statue verbatim.

The same district employee also contends the district has an additional 72 hours to fill the request after the charges are paid.

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