Massachusetts School District Charged Parent Group More Than $45,000 For Public Records Request

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A Massachusetts school district attempted to charge a concerned parent organization more than $45,000 for public records related to the school’s diversity and equity curriculum, according to correspondence reviewed by the Daily Caller.

Newburyport Public Schools in Massachusetts estimated that the total cost of putting together a public records request for the concerned parent group “Parents Defending Education” would cost approximately $45,456.25, according to email communications between the two parties. Parents Defending Education requested electronic copies of communication between district leadership and a diversity consultant, emails show.

The organization said it faces other financial obstacles from other schools and districts nationwide. Parents Defending Education claims that some districts make it difficult to obtain information via public records requests.

Parents Defending Education told the Daily Caller that two other schools charged steep prices for public records, though not nearly as high as Newburyport Public Schools did.

East Grand Rapids Public Schools in Michigan attempted to charge $2,744.66 for emails between employees that use the words “LGBT, Transgender, and Gender Identity,” according to correspondence. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in Alaska estimated a total cost of $1,347.82 for public records as well.

Some school districts create physical thumb drives with electronic paperwork, instead of emailing parents and organizations with the documents.

According to a financial breakdown from Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, the district charged an additional $5 for each flash drive the documents were put on, and required that public record requesters pick up the flash drive in person.

Parents Defending Education argued these methods makes the process more burdensome for parents. (RELATED: Florida School Board Member Brags About Promoting Woke Ideology ‘From the Inside’)

One school district in Michigan sent a physical box containing 244 pages of documents for $246.43, according to Parents Defending Education. Lockwood School District #26 in Montana sent a physical box of documents at the cost of $815.17 as well.

Parents Defending Education said they specially requested that both districts send electronic copies of the documents.

Nicole Neily, the president and founder of Parents Defending Education, told the Daily Caller that such burdens — both physical and financial — are used to discourage parent activists.

“Many parents are ‘accidental activists,’ this is their first rodeo! When roadblocks are thrown up, people get discouraged because they don’t know what to do; the process is confusing — perhaps intentionally so — and they give up,” Neily said.

“We … want to help families navigate these situations because the past two years have shown us all that at the end of the day, activists and bureaucrats care far more about money and power than they do about the welfare of our children,” she concluded.