By JAMES HAUG
After winning a court decision in March to see a year’s worth of Clark County School Board e-mails, Henderson resident Karen Gray got a compact disc filled with archived messages about bicycle donations, upcoming dates of musical performances and other board business.
Not satisfied with the 1,069 e-mails, Gray and her lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada went back to court and won another round in their on-going feud with the School District over the public records law.
District Judge Susan Johnson on Monday ruled that the School District must provide more detailed explanations, including names and dates, as to why it’s withholding an additional 477 e-mails from Gray.
In its index of the undisclosed e-mails, the district classified 20 as attorney-client privilege, 23 as confidential employee matters, 50 as confidential student matters, five as executive privilege, 23 as personal and 356 as nonpublic records.
The district also must provide redacted or edited versions of the e-mails so Gray can at least read portions of them, which is a basic right guaranteed by the state’s public records law, said her ACLU attorney, Judy Cox.
A government agency can’t simply withhold an entire document. Cox said providing documents is mandatory, even if some parts are redacted.
But Gray is still not satisfied that the district has provided her with all the e-mails from the requested time period, November 2005 through November 2006.
Missing, for instance, are the e-mail replies that Gray knows she got from School Board members. Gray said she was also “troubled” by an affidavit from Dan Wray, the district’s director of technical services, who acknowledged that she would not have gotten any e-mails that a School Board member “manually deleted” or did not retain past a “90-day automatic expiration period.”
Alarmed that the district might not be properly archiving e-mails and other public records, Cox said they are weighing additional legal action against the district.
District officials declined to comment on the case Thursday.
Gray wants the e-mail records for research into education law. She would like to see state laws tightened so school boards cannot delegate their policy-making authority to superintendents and staff.
Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug @reviewjournal.com or 702-374-7917.