April 4, 2013 - 1:05 am
The Clark County School District claims it has not a single tax dollar to spare. Yet it wastes precious resources trying to keep public records private. Its latest losing effort: refusing to provide teacher email addresses to the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
The think tank asked for the addresses last year to remind teachers they can drop out of their union, the Clark County Education Association. But the school district refused to provide the addresses — in defiance of the state’s public records law — claiming teachers should not be subject to the solicitations of outside organizations. NPRI got most of the addresses anyway, through a source. Most are made available to the public, anyway, through campus websites.
This year, NPRI is suing to obtain the email addresses. The complaint, filed Thursday, is a slam dunk. Government agencies cannot deny access to public records because they disagree with how that information might be used. If such a justification were legal, journalists wouldn’t be able to examine most government books.
Public employee names, job titles and salaries are public records. The Nevada Supreme Court has held that email message content is public record. But government email addresses aren’t? Come on.
Teachers are certainly aware of NPRI and its work to get teachers to drop out of the CCEA. They’re fully capable of deciding whether to read or delete whatever messages might come from NPRI into their inboxes.
Fighting this lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money. The school district should release the email addresses at once.