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Oakville teachers suing school district to get public records

OAKVILLE — The Oakville Education Association has filed a lawsuit against the Oakville School District because the district has failed to respond to records requests initially made back in January.

The lawsuit seeks $100 for each day for each document that the association was denied the right to inspect or copy the records at hand, plus attorney fees. That’s the maximum allowed under law.

Oakville Superintendent Kathy Lorton said the Education Association is in the midst of contract negotiations and the records relate to those negotiations. The sticking point is higher pay, Lorton told The Vidette. She didn’t explain why the records weren’t turned over when asked.

The lawsuit states that on Jan. 24, Oakville Education Association President Katie Rose hand-delivered two separate public records requests to Lorton.

“The District failed to respond to these requests,” the lawsuit states.

On Feb. 21, the “Association inquired as to the status of its public record requests,” the lawsuit states. “Superintendent Lorton advised that she had forgotten about having received them. Association representatives provided second copies of the requests to Superintendent Lorton.”

The lawsuit was filed on March 5.

The record requests, turned over to The Vidette by the Education Association, request notices of non-renewal of contract for certificated staff, letters of resignation for certificated staff, termination notices for certificated staff, names, addresses and contact information for all Oakville School Board Directors and the superintendent, minutes of all School Board meetings, an accounting of how much money has been paid for attorney’s fees, including the name and contact information for all attorneys, an accounting of attorney’s fees specifically related to bargaining, including the name and contact information for all attorneys.

Another records request seeks budget information turned over to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as monthly budget status reports on a fund balance basis for the district’s operating budget for the last five years, including the current school year to date.

Union representative Jill Van Glubt said that since the association filed the lawsuit, the district has supplied some of the documents requested, but not all of it.

Vidette reporter Brendan Carl contributed to this story.