FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Kenneth P. Anton,

 

Complainant

 

 

against

 Docket #FIC 2000-279

David Quattropani, Associate Superintendent
of Schools, Meriden Public Schools,

 

 

Respondents

August 23, 2000

 

 

 

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 5, 2000, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that the complainant made several requests to the respondent for certain information regarding an exam taken by his child to qualify as a member of the school’s team in an inter-school competition called Mathletix and by letter dated March 12, 2000 to the respondent, the complainant specifically requested the following:

 

a.       “the name and address of the Board of Education counsel who has advised you regarding this issue;

b.      the name of the author and publisher of the Mathletix test;

c.       specific copyright data;

d.      the comprehensive description of the test;

e.       any associated grants or permissions for use or duplication of the Mathletix test;

f.        all sources where the test questions have originated;

g.       the names of non-board members who have participated in the evaluation of any Mathletix events;

h.       and the scoring data used to determine the students selected for Mathletix competition;

i.         the scoring data used to determine award recipients.”

3.      It is found that by letter dated May 26, 2000, the respondent, through counsel, responded to the complainant’s March 12, 2000 request providing him with two documents in response to his request described in paragraphs 2h and 2i, above.  The respondent informed the complainant that the material he requested concerning the examination is exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(6), G.S., and that to the extent any other information he requested is actually on the examination, such as the name of the author and publisher of the examination, that information is part of the examination data and is also exempt.  The respondent further informed the complainant that there are no documents that would be responsive to the remaining items in his request.

 

4.      By letter dated June 4, 2000 and filed on June 5, 2000, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request.  The complainant requested the following remedies: copies of all the Matheltix examinations, including his child’s examination; the scoring sheets or data used to select the students and to identify which student would be “regular” or “alternates” members of the team; the source of the exams; the name of the author and publisher of the examination; the copyright data for the examinations; the ethnic and racial data with respect to school population as compared to the ethnic and racial data with respect to the students selected to compete in Mathletix; and the imposition of a civil penalty.

 

5.      Section 1-210(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 1-212(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 . . . .”

 

            7.      It is found that the requested records, to the extent that they exist, are public records within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S.

 

            8.      It is found that in response to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2i, above, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of a document that describes the method of scoring for each Mathletix team, and how tournament team award and chairman’s club award recipients are determined.

 

            9.      It is found that in response to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2h, above, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of all the scores received by every student who took the exam for the Mathletix team with the names of all the students, except his child’s, redacted.

 

            10.    At the hearing on this matter, the complainant maintained that the records provided are not responsive to his requests and that there should be some documents within the Meriden school system that would reveal the data he is seeking. 

 

            11.  The respondent maintains that there are no other documents responsive to the complainant’s request except those provided and it is found that there is no evidence to the contrary in the record of this case.

 

            12.  The respondent maintains that the information requested by the complainant, as described in paragraph 2b and 2c, above, are exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(6), G.S., which provides in relevant part that nothing in the FOI Act shall require the disclosure of  “[t]est questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer a[n] . . .  academic examination.”

 

            13.   The complainant contends that the Mathletix examination is not an “academic examination” within the meaning of §1-210(b)(6), G.S., because the Mathletix team is an extra-curricular activity similar to the basketball team and nothing with respect to the Mathletix team, examination or competition is recorded in any of the participants’ permanent records.

 

            14.  It is found that although the Mathletix team is an extra-curricular activity, it is an academic team and the examination  at issue tests a student’s aptitude in an academic subject.

 

            15.  It is also found that nothing in §1-210(b)(6), G.S., requires that information pertaining to an academic examination be recorded in the examinee’s permanent file for the exemption to apply.

 

            16.  It is therefore found that the Mathletix examination is an “academic examination” within the meaning of §1-210(b)(6), G.S.

 

            17.  However, if is found that any information pertaining to the author and publisher and copyright data of the examination that may appear on the examination material is not “used to administer” the examination within the meaning of §1-210(b)(6), G.S. 

 

            18.  Consequently, it is found that the Mathletix examination material, with the exemption of the author, publisher and copyright data, are permissibly exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(6), G.S.

 

            19.  It is concluded that the respondent violated §1-210(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with the author, publisher and copyright data of the Mathletix examination, as described in paragraph 2b and 2c, above.

 

            20.  The complainant’s request for the imposition of a civil penalty is denied as are his other requests for relief.

 

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 a copy of the page or pages of the Mathletix examination on which the author, publisher and copyright data of the examination appears.

 

2.         In compliance with paragraph 1 of the Commission’s order, above, the respondent may redact all other information that may appear on the pages provided to the complainant. 

 

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 23, 2000.

 

 

 

 

_________________________

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:

 

 

Kenneth P. Anton

471 South Curtis Street

Meriden, CT  06450

 

 

David Quattropani, Associate Superintendent of Schools, Meriden Public Schools

c/o Atty. Christine Chinni

Shipman & Goodwin, LLP

One American Row

Hartford, CT  06103

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC2000-279FD/mrb/08/31/00