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Thursday, July 19, 2007

South Carolina court opens superintendent files...

A school district violated the state's Freedom of Information Act by not releasing information on the finalists for a superintendent job, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

"FOIA must be construed so as to make it possible for citizens to learn and report fully the activities of public officials," Justice Costa Pleicones wrote in for the unanimous court.

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, which is owned by the New York Times Co., sued the Spartanburg County School District No. 7 in 2003 after the district refused to release information on the finalists for the job.

Five semifinalists and two finalists were selected from a group of about 30 applicants. State law requires public agencies to release the names of no fewer than the final three applicants in the hiring process. The school board said it wasn't required to release its finalists because there were only two.

The court said in The New York Times Co. v. Spartanburg County School District No. 7 that the school board should have released the names of the five semifinalists.

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