Video: School district transparency panel co-sponsored by CFOIC and Chalkbeat Colorado

Transparency is more than a buzzword in some Colorado school districts. It’s a problem, according to many parents and educators.

As political battles rage in certain districts, some board members have been accused of conducting the public’s business in secret. Constituents complain that public information is sometimes difficult or expensive to obtain.

To help parents, teachers, students, journalists and all taxpayers better understand how to use the Colorado Open Records Act and the state’s Open Meetings Law, the CFOIC partnered with Chalkbeat Colorado to present a lively and informative panel discussion on Monday evening at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. We called it “Transparency 101: How to exercise your rights to information and open meetings in your school district.”

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From left: Doug Bell, Theresa Peña, Ashley Kissinger, Nic Garcia, Nelson Garcia

Prompted by moderator Nelson Garcia of 9NEWS, Chalkbeat education reporter Nic Garcia and Evergreen Newspapers Editor Doug Bell offered strategies for getting records and access. Media lawyer Ashley Kissinger explained the laws, and former Denver school board member Theresa Peña offered the perspective of a school district insider. Audience members asked thoughtful questions.

Watch the video below (the discussion starts at about the 5:00 mark) and download the handout here. Much of the information in it pertains to all local governments in Colorado, not just school districts.

Thank you to 7NEWS producer/photographer Andy Miller for recording the event.

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