Will the Windsor Board of Education Help Me Out?

I will not be able to get the information that I will need to get a more comprehensive understanding of the contract between the Dr. James and the Superintendent due to the marginalization of poverty.

On December 17 I made a Freedom of Information request to the members of the Windsor Board of Education and Superintendent Villar.  I requested all communication from January 1, 2010 through December 17, 2012, including e-mail, fax, and postal correspondence, that has pertained to the following subjects: ethnicity, race, and culture; the Equity and Excellence Review; Dr. Marlon James; Loyola University; the Alliance Grant, including communication about the addendum; the Windsor achievement gap; and Parent Resource for Excellence in Scholastic Success (P.R.E.S.S.). I requested all communication regarding subjects noted above between Members of the Windsor Board of Education, Superintendent Villar, Dr. Marlon James, and any staff, faculty, or administration of Loyola University.

On December 18 I received an e-mail response from Superintendent Villar that included: "Since your request involves all communications of potentially dozens of individuals concerning a number of topics over a two year period, the district will not be able to respond to your request within ninety-six hours... Please note that the Freedom of Information Act allows for public agencies to charge for the copying of requested documents.  The district charges $.50 per page.  Should the total amount due for the requested copies exceed $10, prepayment will be required."

On December 19 I responded, "Since I am requested such extensive documentation, I would like to amend my immediate request to include all correspondence between yourself, Doreen Richardson, and Dr. Marlon James dating back to January 1, 2010."

He then confirmed receipt of the amended request, and I e-mailed thank you...

I received an e-mail today from Dr. Villar that stated: "Initial reviews indicate that the documents requested in your amended request total a minimum of 411 pages.  The district will be happy to print these documents for a cost of .50 per page.  Please indicate if you would like to arrange to pick up these documents next week."

My reaction to that e-mail was: WOW - that is $205.50! So the only way that any taxpaying constituent of Windsor is going to have an opportunity for an un-biased and completely transparent view of the the communication between BOE members, Superintendent Villar, and Dr. Marlon James, is by paying the same BOE that we gave $48,883,774.00 tax dollars to this year, with nearly $600K more allocated in the upcoming year's budget?

I responded to Dr. Villar this evening with the following email: "Thank you for looking into this for me. Unfortunately, as someone who makes less than $20,000 annually, this cost would place a burden on my family.  In actuality, the $205.50 would be my next month gas and electricity payment.  Given my financial situation, would it possible for the Windsor Board of Education to waive this fee?  I can provide my last year tax return as verification of my poverty status."

Please note that as Dr. Villar stated, the Freedom of Information Act "allows" towns to charge for the copying of requested documents.  Allows indicates that towns have the option, and there is no set fee.  

So as someone who is working their way out of poverty, I guess that I will just have to concede to this marginalization and decline if there is no exception.  There is no way that I can put this month's utility money towards getting these documents.  

I am sorry readers.  Maybe someone can make the same request and get a hold of those documents.  I would be more than happy to pour over the information and develop a report for the public.  If anyone is interested, my e-mail is michaela.fissel@gmail.com.  

Oh - and for the record, I work full-time and I am completing graduate school this May!  I am working as hard as I can to move up from the lower working class, and I pay my taxes : ) Check that - I happily pay my taxes.

To be continued...

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Jan Porri December 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Michaela ..you REALLY need to run for the BOE - I don't have kids in school anymore - but I am a resident and taxpayer, and this crap really infuriates me.....I am not surprised that this is happening.....time for a change!!
Nanette Fryxell December 24, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Jan Porri December 24, 2012 at 03:44 PM
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. if kids have no desire to learn, or don't have encouragement from parents, they will not learn, black, white, pink, yellow or green. If they get more enjoyment out of causing trouble, skipping school, or just not doing anything at all....all the money in the world will not get these kids in the door. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp? In our society today, kids are learning that they don't have to work for anything....someone else will give me what I need, so I don't need to learn, don't need a job, don't need any life skills, it's a sad situation. If you want a good education - you can have it - it's there for you, if you choose the other - that's your choice, now those students have to live with those consequences, and when they can't get a job, everyone is up in arms because they didn't get a good education....really..put the blame where it lies, not the school, but on that student that refuses to apply themselves. Starts in kindergarten, parents need to wake up.
Windsor School Graduate December 24, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Hmmm...... Speaks volumes to me. I am really getting sick and tired of the Social Justice statements............. for whom do they apply?????? Did anyone ever watch the clip from the outgoing lawyer for the NEA? National Education Association’s retiring top lawyer, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA’s annual meeting in July, 2009: “Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.” “And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.” “This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.” SOCIAL JUSTICE?????????
Michaela I. Fissel December 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM
As of December 27, 2012 at 5:28PM there has been no response from Superintendent Villar regarding my request for a waiver of the 205.50 fee for copying the correspondance between himself, Doreen Richardson, and Dr. Marlon James/Loyola University.


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