FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Dennis Hunt,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1999-155
Principal, Newtown Middle School,
Newtown Public Schools; and
Newtown Public Schools,
Respondents August 25, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 17, 1999, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

        After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

        1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S. [formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.].

        2. By letter dated March 3, 1999, the complainant requested certain records from the respondents which included a request for a copy of the Newtown Middle School’s science curriculum (hereinafter "science curriculum") in disk form.

        3. By letter dated March 19, 1999, the respondents responded to the complainant’s request and with respect to his request for the science curriculum, the respondents informed the complainant that the curriculum was presently under review and was not available in disk form.

        4. By letter dated March 29, 1999 and filed on March 30, 1999, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying his request for access to and a copy of the science curriculum.

        5. Section 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part that:

[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right . . . to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212. Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void.

        6. Section 1-211(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19a, G.S.] provides in relevant part that:

[a]ny public agency which maintains public records in a computer storage system shall provide, to any person making a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, a copy of any nonexempt data contained in such records, properly identified, on paper, disk, tape or any other electronic storage device or medium requested by the person, if the agency can reasonably make such copy or have such copy made . . .

        7. Section 1-212(a), G.S. [formerly 1-15(a), G.S.] provides in relevant part that:

[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.

        8. It is found that the science curriculum records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.].

        9. It is found that, at the time of his request, the records responsive to the complainant’s request for the "science curriculum" consisted of two documents, one entitled "Philosophy" and the other entitled "Science Curriculum Grades 6-8 June 1993", neither of which is stored electronically.

        10. It is found that the respondents are in the process of developing a more comprehensive science curriculum which is also not stored electronically.

        11. It is found that what the complainant was actually seeking when he requested the "science curriculum" was the compilation of assignments and supporting instructional material used by teachers during the school year, which had been printed out and maintained in a four inch binder, and which may be stored electronically somewhere within the school system. However, since the complainant requested the "science curriculum," the respondent’s were not aware until the hearing in this matter, that the complainant was seeking such records.

        12. It is found that the science curriculum records, as requested by the complainant, could not reasonably be provided by the respondents in disk form.

        13. It is concluded therefore that the respondents did not violate 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with a copy of the science curriculum in disk form.

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

        1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

        2. The Commission notes that the respondents agreed at the hearing on this matter to provide the complainant with the records described in paragraph 11 of the findings, above, on disk, if such records are stored electronically.

 

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of

August 25, 1999.

 

 

_________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

 

Dennis Hunt
43 Bennetts Bridge Road
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
Principal, Newtown Middle School,
Newtown Public Schools; and Newtown Public Schools
c/o Atty. Jody P. Benbow
Siegel, O’Connor, Schiff & Zangari, P.C.
PO Drawer 906
New Haven, CT 06504

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-155FD/mrb/08261999