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Monday, March 16, 2009

Miss. needs clarification on what agencies can charge for records

The Biloxi School Board told Keith Rogers it would cost $84 for copies of exhibits presented at a School Board meeting, the Fort Mills Times reported. That included the cost of research, even though the information was already available online to School Board members with a password. The governor told The Clarion-Ledger it would cost more than $14,000 for gubernatorial e-mails spanning four days. That included "$7,500 to hire private attorneys to review the e-mails for exempted material and $5,400 to bring in an out-of-town computer consultant."
Biloxi resident Keith Rogers thought he would be able to review and copy exhibits the School Board used to decide that an 52-year-old elementary school in his neighborhood will be turned into an alternative school next year.

"I thought I would get them because they are public records," Rogers said. "The secretary at first was very defensive about releasing them at all."

She eventually informed Rogers he could have the records for $3 a page. The school system's standard charge includes the cost of copies, research and time, even though in this case the records already had been assembled and were available on the Internet to board members who had passwords.

More here.

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