FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
John Howard,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2011-075
Chairman, Board of Education, Regional
School District 14; and Board of
Education, Regional District 14,
 
  Respondents

August 24, 2011

       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 17, 2011, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared 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.

 

2.      It is found that on January 30, 2011, the complainant requested copies of records of “budget information relative to the recognition of the potential issues associated with the two elementary configurations.”

 

3.      It is found that on January 31, 2011, the respondent chairman replied to the complainant, informing him that “[t]here are no documents that currently exist that would appear to be responsive to your FOIA request… In addition, the District is not required by the FOIA to create documents…”

 

4.      It is found that on February 2, 2011, the complainant reiterated his request of January 30, 2011.

 

5.      By letter filed February 14, 2011, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with the copies of records he requested, described in paragraph 2, above.

 

6.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:

 

Public records or files means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

7.      Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

Except 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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.

 

8.      Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public records.”

 

9.      It is concluded that, to the extent that they exist, the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

10.   It is found that at the time of the complainant’s request, the respondent chairman of the Board of Education did not maintain any records responsive to the complainant’s request. 

 

11.   It is found that the respondents prepared and widely distributed a report on the reconfiguration of schools, but the chairman maintained no records concerning budget information relative to the reconfiguration.  It is found that the chairman did not receive a copy of the superintendent’s proposed budget until early March 2010.

 

12.   It is further found that to comply with the complainant’s request, the chairman would have had to research and create records.  It is concluded, however, that the FOI Act does not require a public agency to perform research or to create records.

 

13.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant.

 

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

 

1.       The complaint is dismissed.

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 24, 2011.

 

__________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

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:

 

John Howard

15 Sanford Lane

Bethlehem, CT  06751

 

Chairman, Board of Education, Regional School District 14; and

Board of Education, Regional District 14

c/o Mark J. Sommaruga, Esq.

Sullivan, Schoen, Campane & Connon, LLC

646 Prospect Avenue

Hartford, CT  06105-4286

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2011-075/FD/cac/8/24/2011