School defies Supervisor of Records

Acton Forum to file yet another appeal

In what was to be the final chapter in our quest for public documents to explain the sudden departure of a top Acton-Boxborough Regional School District (the "School") administrator over two years ago, and then a settlement payout to her of around $200,000 in salary and benefits while not working, we were granted an Order by the Secretary of State's Supervisor of Records compelling the School to provide us with copies of several Executive Session minutes in which about two dozen redactions (out of around 50) were to be un-redacted.

This Order came after the Supervisor reviewed the minutes "in camera," or unredacted, and determined which redactions were lawful and which had to be removed.

Despite the review and Order, and seven weeks after the Order was issued, the School responded with an eight-page letter detailing why almost all of the Order would be ignored. The School has spent over $60,000 in legal fees to fight public disclosure of over $300,000 in total spending on this issue, making the cost to the taxpayers almost $400,000 when adding in the cost of staff time.

Acton Forum believes that when such large sums of public monies are spent, there must be accountability and transparency. Acton Forum has kept its readers informed about its efforts to get an answer and the School’s stonewalling for more than two years. Readers have been very supportive, even donating money for the fees the Schools charged Acton Forum for copies of heavily redacted documents. Our readers agree that the public has a right to know the reason for this kind of spending to make sure the custodians are making good decisions. If not, taxpayers may wish to make personnel or policy changes to avoid their money being wasted. This is why for over two years, we have asked the School to explain what happened. We are still waiting for an answer.

By refusing to comply with the Supervisor’s Order, the School forces us to once again file an appeal, but now the issue should be simple: Will the State enforce its Order or not?

Here is a copy of the school's response:

Our last article, which explained the Supervisor's Order and includes a list of all past articles on this subject:

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