Denied Request Could Help Clarify Public Records Exemption

Oct 3, 2012

The state Department of Education is again denying a request from the Associated Press for information on how schools were chosen to participate in Governor Jindal's voucher program.

The incident may wind up providing clarity on what is accessible public record. 

The department told the AP they would fulfill the request only after the final voucher enrollment numbers were tallied in September.

In a letter Monday, State Superintendent John White said the request for records, emails or other communications was, "overly broad."

White's letter went on to say the development of policies or deliberation among managers and staff is not public record.

LSU Law Professor John Devlin said the requesting party should lawyer up.

"What the state is in effect saying is, 'No we're not going to give the information unless you make us', and the way you make us is by going to court and getting a judge to order them to do it," said Devlin.

Devlin said going to court would very likely help answer the question as to what documents are and are not considered part of the governor's deliberative process.