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School Board Member Knott Waiting to See Public Records
November 28, 2007 - More than two months after first asking to see them, Charles A. Beard School Board member Kevin Knott is still waiting to be given full access to school corporation records The Banner has only been permitted to see in a heavily censored form.
Knott asked to see the records - uncensored copies of four documents former Superintendent Hal Jester gave board members in 2004 and 2005, before Knott joined the board - in September. He said CAB's public access officer, Jena Schmidt, told him she could not find the unredacted records, and that he told her wanted to see them if they became available.
Schmidt told The Banner that Knott was not allowed to see the records on the advice of CAB's attorney, who said the records had been made confidential when CAB gave The Banner copies in 2005 that had substantial portions redacted, or blacked out. According to a letter he drafted to Schmidt, the attorney, Mike Wallman, offered this advice without himself even reviewing the records in question.
The state's public access counselor, Heather Neal, subsequently told Schmidt that she didn't think CAB could prevent Knott or other board members from viewing CAB's records. Despite Neal's admonition, however, Schmidt had still not contacted Knott as of Tuesday afternoon to let him know that the uncensored records are available for him to review.
Schmidt has previously told The Banner she did not follow up with Knott because he had made no further request to see the documents. Knott says he believes another request is unnecessary in light of how he had left things with Schmidt when he first asked to see the records.
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