NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
March 23, 1994
In Re: Susan D. Reagan/Campbell County Schools
OPEN RECORDS DECISION
This matter comes to the Attorney General on an appeal in connection with the attempt of Susan D. Reagan to obtain a document from the Campbell County Schools.
In a letter to the Superintendent of the Campbell County Schools, Ronald W. McCormick, dated October 28,1993, Ms. Reagan referred to a meeting of a School Based Decision Making Council and said in part as follows:
Apparently the meeting was documented by videotape by using school equipment; thus, I would like to have a copy of the videotape. I will be happy to pay a reasonable copying fee and for the videotape itself. Would you please send these to me at the above address within three days.
Mr. McCormick, in a letter to Ms. Reagan dated November 1, 1993, advised as follows:
As per our phone conversation today, and in reference to your request dated 10/28/93 for a copy of a video tape, I am declining your request. I will be happy to provide you a copy of the official minutes of that October 18, 1993 Site Based Meeting at Cold Spring, if you so desire. If you have further questions, you may contact our school board attorney, Mr. Garry Edmondson, at 491-5551.
In her letter of appeal to this office, received November 8, 1993, Ms. Reagan requested that this office review the Superintendent's denial of her request. She said in part:
I was not informed as to the specific exception authorizing the withholding of this record or offered a brief explanation of how the exception applied to the record withheld. This videotape appears to be a public record under KRS 61.870(2), and I offered to pay a reasonable fee for it.
In connection with the response required of the public agency, KRS 61.880(1) not only requires a response within three business days of the receipt of the request but it also mandates:
An agency response denying, in whole or in part, inspection of any record shall include a statement of the specific exception authorizing the withholding of the record and a brief explanation of how the exception applies to the record withheld.
The Superintendent's response of November 1, 1993 is deficient in that it neither cited a specific statutory section in support of the denial nor did it briefly explain how any exception applied to the videotape which had been withheld.
Turning to the substantive issue presented by this appeal, it is our decision that the Campbell County Schools improperly denied Ms. Reagan's request to inspect and copy the videotape. In OAG 92-111, a copy of which is attached, we addressed the issue of whether a tape prepared at the direction of a public agency and purchased with agency funds was subject to public inspection. We decided the question in the affirmative concluding that if a public agency selects to make a tape recording of its meeting, and that tape is owned, used, or in its possession, it must be made available for public inspection and copying upon request. In our opinion, OAG 92-111 is dispositive of the present appeal. See also 93-ORD-34, copy enclosed.
The Campbell County School System is directed to promptly arrange for Ms. Reagan to inspect and copy the tape in question.
The Campbell County School System may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882. The Attorney General shall be notified of any actions filed against the adverse party pursuant to KRS 61.880(3), but he shall not be named as a party to these actions or in any subsequent proceedings.
Thomas R. Emerson
Assistant Attorney General
Copies of this decision
have been mailed to:
Susan D. Reagan
Kentucky Education Association
7730 U.S. Highway 42, Suite C6
Florence, Kentucky 41042
Ronald W. McCormick
Campbell County Schools
101 Orchard Lane
Alexandria, Kentucky 41001