Summer Help in Math

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Accountability for public agencies via the Public Disclosure Commission

Note from Laurie Rogers:

On Sept. 28, 2011, I filed a complaint with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission regarding election activity in Spokane Public Schools. The complaint alleged that leaders and employees of Spokane Public Schools violated Washington State's RCW 42.17.130 over several years; RCW 42.17 is the law that governs elective activity, lobbying and records. The complaint was based on public records I received via Washington State's Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.

On Feb. 27, 2014, the PDC held a hearing regarding this case and found that several district employees did, in fact, violate RCW 42.17.130. However, the consequences for these violations were relatively mild, and many records sent to the PDC were dismissed or ignored. In addition, several shocking precedents were set in the PDC report, including allowing agencies to get away with "we didn't know," and "we fixed it now, and "we always do it that way."

The PDC's handling of this case should be investigated. Left as it is, the impact on elective campaigns across the state will be long-term devastating for citizens.
Some of the text of RCW 42.17.130:

 "No elective official nor any employee of his office nor any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition. Facilities of public office or agency include, but are not limited to, use of stationery, postage, machines, and equipment, use of employees of the office or agency during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the office or agency, and clientele lists of persons served by the office or agency . . .."

Sept. 26, 2011 (filed Sept. 28), 2011: PDC complaint

Some of the materials used for this complaint include the Public Disclosure Commission's own Guidelines for School Districts, published Sept. 28, 2006

Feb. 13, 2014: PDC Report of Investigation on PDC Case #12-145

Feb. 27, 2014: PDC report prepared for the PDC's Feb. 27, 2014 hearing on Case #12-145

March 1, 2014: Legislature should look into the PDC's investigation of Spokane Public Schools
A PDF of this March 1, 2014 article is here.

Laurie Rogers's blog articles about the PDC complaint

Oct. 1, 2011: Public records prompt PDC complaint re: Spokane Public Schools

Oct. 9, 2011: Accountability, transparency desperately needed for education expenditures

Oct. 13, 2011: Hire board director who's accountable to you, not beholden to district, union

Oct. 21, 2011: District distributes campaign material to students and community

Oct. 25, 2011: Newspapers neglect critical information about PDC issues

Oct. 31, 2011: Vote for those whose allegiance is to the People

Nov. 8, 2011: PDC launches formal investigation regarding Spokane Public Schools

Dec. 28, 2011: Paper declines to inform voters about critical school-district election issues

Feb. 15, 2012: Leadership seems filled with predators, sheep. Where are the sheepdogs?

April 15, 2012: In defense of public-records requesters

May 31, 2012: Hold education bureaucracy accountable, or lose your right to do it

June 10, 2012: School district budget forums showcase half-truths, contempt for the public

July 17, 2012: Several school leaders refuse to say why district is adopting unproven products on top of already failed products; board president points to state

Jan. 24, 2013: Spokane school board attempting to undermine Public Records Act for everyone in Washington State

Feb. 16, 2013: Public Records Act: Speak up for your rights now, before they're gone

Feb. 16, 2013: See Cheryl Mitchell's legal analysis of HB 1128:

Feb. 16, 2013: Analysis of Substitute House Bill 1128, which would essentially gut the Public Records Act

Nov. 11, 2013: Spokane print media failing all of us, especially the children

February 20, 2014: What's in the records? Here's one: An email string between the associate superintendent and Citizens for Spokane Schools, a local levy group

February 24, 2014: Some of the records the PDC cited in its Report of Investigation regarding Case #12-145 on Spokane Public Schools

February 22, 2014: Some of the other records sent to the PDC regarding Spokane Public Schools election activity

March 1, 2014: Legislature should look into the PDC's investigation of Spokane Public Schools
A PDF of this March 1, 2014 article is here.