In a court order released today, the New Hampshire Supreme Court rendered a decision on the appeal of a decision rendered by the Superior Court in the matter of David K. Taylor v. School Administrative Unit 55. The appeal argued the Superior Court erred in interpreting certain provisions of RSA 91-A, the Right-to-Know law. The original case involved claims the SAU Board violated RSA 91-A in connection with the sealing of nonpublic minutes, as well as claims that the Superintendent’s Office violated the statute in regards to the electronic access of said meeting minutes and other items, the redaction of said minutes, and the associated costs for providing copies of items requested via the Right-to-Know process.
The NH Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision on all accounts citing they conclude the SAU’s Right-to-Know procedure complies with the statute. Specifically, the court found no violations relative to charging for the cost of a thumb drive for electronic copies, requiring requestors to appear in person to obtain requested material, adopting procedures prohibiting the use of email to deliver Right-to-Know electronic records, and also clarified that the statute does not impose the delivery records in a specific electronic format. The court further cites its earlier decision in the Green v. SAU55 case does not counsel in favor of one method (format) over another. https://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2017/2017057taylor.pdf
Dr. Metzler is very appreciative of the court’s ruling on the matter and once again asserts that the office procedure on fulfilling Right-to-Know requests is not only in full compliance with state statute, but also affords members of the public an equitable process for the delivery of requested information. “The purpose of this press release is not to revel in this court victory, but to share with the public the merits of the case and to remind them of our continued efforts to grow the public’s trust in our management of the organization and the two school districts. The SAU takes serious the public’s demand for transparency and values the support of our stakeholders.”
“Today’s decision validates the SAU Board’s confidence that the policies and procedures of the SAU align with state law. We look forward to continuing the positive work ahead.” – Sue Sherman, SAU Board Chair
September 21, 2017