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Monroe Times sues Monroe School Board and Superintendent
Wednesday, March 13, 2002 12:00:00 AM - Monroe Ohio
Our friendly neighborhood newspaper, the Monroe times, may not be so friendly after all. The Journal has jointly filed suit with the Monroe Times against the Monroe Board of Education and Arnol Elam. The paper insists on obtaining information regarding upcoming School Board agenda and additional papers PRIOR to the public having access. Typically, board members receive documents on the Friday prior to the Monday board meeting. This gives each member the weekend to be better prepared to contribute to the meeting. The Journal believes that as soon as a board member receives this information, it is a matter of public record and should immediately be made available to local news sources. Mr. Deters II, attorney for the school board contends that the documents are not ‘public‘ until the board utilizes these documents.

MSM COMMENTARY
If the newspaper wins this case regarding information to the board, could it not be expanded to include any document received by a board member? Are all notes passed between board members and the school administration a matter of public record?

Indeed the newspaper plays an important role in providing timely information to the public. But in this case, the documents they seek are not relevant until the meeting time. Over the weekend a board member may request a change in the agenda. This would make the previous agenda inaccurate. The paper is charged with reporting the facts. The board is charged with continuous improvement of the school district. In our opinion at MSM, we believe the Journal and the Times are doing a disservice to the community by perusing these documents prior to Monday. It takes away the flexibility the board needs during the weekend to modify the upcoming Board Meeting. Additionally we do not like the precedence this ruling would set regarding when documents are "public."

If you would like to comment on this story, drop us an email: john@mainstreetmonroe.com, we will post selected responses here.
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