Sunshine blog: Wake County school board members’ emails

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The Sunshine Blog, formerly known as Sunshine Weekly, is Raleigh Public Record’s effort to live up to it’s name and bring public records to light for the people of Raleigh. Want city, county, state or federal information, or have a question about government that you’ve been dying to ask? Click on the Contact page and we’ll do the legwork. We’re expanding the scope this week to include answering questions that our readers have. Send us your question and we’ll figure out the best person to ask and bring you their answers here.

The Raleigh Public Record is experiencing difficulty obtaining all of the documents encompassed in a public records request that we made to the Wake County Public School System in March.

Our request returned 1,700 initial pages of email, most of which are published in full text at the bottom of this post. We culled the majority of emails which board members did not respond to. Due to the vast amount of emails we are asking our readers and any to help us in studying the emails and notifying us of any thing they find of interest. Use the Contact page to get in touch or leave comments below on anything you find.

The Record requested all board member emails (personal and county accounts) regarding the diversity policy and the community assignment plan from Oct. 6, 2009 until the date our request was fulfilled.

On May 20, Micheal Evans, Wake County Public School System chief communications officer, informed us that our request was processed and that we might come in to examine the documents. Our examination returned strange findings, not about specific emails, but what we didn’t get.

Our request returned emails ranging only from January 1, 2010 to mid-March, close to the time we made our initial request, rather than mid-May when our request was fulfilled. Evans told us, after our request was fulfilled, that the WCPSS database can only store emails from the past 60 days, accounting for the lack of return on the front-end of our request, and that his department is currently working to fulfill the latter end, dating March to May.

Perhaps stranger, our request returned no emails to or from board members Ron Margiotta, John Tedesco, Deborah Goldman, and Kevin Hill for the entire month of February. Board member Keith Sutton said, he does “not think it is possible that the four board members did not send or receive any emails regarding the diversity policy or the community assignment plan during the month of February.”

Given the large volume of emails the other board members received during the same period, he is likely correct.

In response to the irregularities in information, Evans said, his department presented us “with all the information the communications department’s search returned,” but that he will perform another search on the board members emails in question for February. Board member Dr. Anne McLaurin also said she thinks it is “unlikely” that the four board members did not receive or respond to any emails addressing diversity during February.

Board members personal email accounts are subject to public records requests and in our initial request we asked WCPSS for any board member emails regarding community assignment to or from personal accounts. However, our request returned no such emails.

Evans said that he is currently asking the board of education members for personal account emails regarding diversity, but that as of yet none say they received or sent any from personal accounts.

Board members McLaurin and Carolyn Morrison told the Record they do not remember if they received or sent any emails from their personal accounts.

We are unsure whether our request should produce any personal account emails, but we are anxious to understand why our request did not return any emails from certain board members for the month February and to see any emails regarding diversity written between March and April.

The documents below are organized by month and by board member. We also created one document for emails sent to multiple board members during January. For a search function, click on the file name above the document.

Jan – Group

Jan – Prickett

Jan – Morrison

Jan – McLaurin

Jan – Sutton

Jan – Malone

Jan – Margiotta

Jan – Hill

Jan – Goldman

Jan – Tedesco

Feb – Prickett

Feb – Morrison

Feb – McLaurin

Feb – Sutton

Feb – Malone

March – Sutton

March – Morrison

March – McLaurin

March – Malone

March – Tedesco

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