FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Patty McQueen and the Journal Inquirer,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 86-181

 

Superintendent of Schools and Board of Education of the Town of South Windsor,

 

Respondents October 22 , 1986

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 29, 1986, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated June 11, 1986 the complainants made a request of the respondent superintendent for access to the work attendance records of Robert Myette, a teacher at South Windsor High School. The letter indicated that the complainants did not seek access to information about the reasons for Mr. Myette's absences.

 

3. The complainants' request was denied by letter dated June 17, 1986.

 

4. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on June 23, 1986 the complainants appealed the denial of their request for records.

 

5. At hearing the South Windsor Education Association requested and was granted permission to participate as an intervenor at the hearing level only.

 

6. The respondent claims that the records of a teacher's attendance are examined to detect patterns of abuse and to determine whether stated reasons are legitimate, that attendance is part of a performance evaluation and that the records of Mr. Myette's attendance are, therefore, exempt from disclosure pursuant to 10-151c, G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 86-181 Page Two

 

7. The respondent also claims that the forms which record absences are kept in each teacher's personnel file, that the forms disclose the reason for the absence and that disclosure of the forms would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

8. The information in question is recorded on a form entitled "employee sick and excused time," which lists dates, number of sick/excused days used and left and the reasons for absences. The reasons are listed in separate columns which could be masked for purposes of disclosure as requested by the complainants.

 

9. It is found that the record of a teacher's attendance is not a record of teacher performance or evaluation within the meaning of 10-151c, G.S.

 

10. It is also found that the public has a legitimate interest in the attendance records of individuals paid from public funds.

 

11. The respondent failed to prove that disclosure of the work attendance records of Robert Myette, without more, would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

12. It is concluded that the records of Robert Myette's attendance as a teacher in the South Windsor school system are subject to disclosure pursuant to 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with access to inspect or copy the attendance records of Robert Myette, a teacher in the South Windsor school system.

 

2. In complying with paragraph 1 of the order, above, the respondent may mask or delete from such records information other than dates of absences.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 22, 1986.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Acting Clerk of the Commission