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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dr. Rock spent $1,700 of CCS district money on attorneys to keep from giving me documents I requested through FOIA

From: Dawn Schaller
To: Steve HyersCheryl McGinnis, Elizabeth Egan, Barry Bomier, Joan Patterson, Sue Boatman, Rosalie Lieblang
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 9:30:53 PM
Subject: Fwd: FOIA Response - concerns over items not included
Dear CCS Board members, 

I wanted you to know that Dr. Rock finally did respond to me tonight (see below)... 

It's interesting that Dr. Rock found it necessary/preferable to spend $1,700.00 district dollars on attorneys to prevent me from receiving documents under FOIA that I know exist, than to provide the actual documents.  How is that for 'transparency' and being a responsible steward of the school district's limited dollars?

However, I just want to advise the board, there are sanctions for violations of FOIA.  See here for Michigan FOIA rules:,4534,7-164-20988_18160-51242--,00.html 
Thank you. 

From: Rod Rock
To: Dawn Schaller
Cheryl McGinnis
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 6:36:15 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: FOIA Response - concerns over items not included
Mrs. Schaller:

Our district's attorney counseled us, at a cost of $1,700, on your FOIA request. We provided all documents according to our attorney's counsel.

Thank you.
Rod Rock, Ed.D.
Clarkston Community Schools
On Twitter: @RodRock1
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From: Dawn Schaller
Rod Rock  Steve HyersCheryl McGinnis, Elizabeth Egan, Barry Bomier, Joan Patterson, Sue Boatman, Rosalie Lieblang
Cc: Heidi Mcclain

Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 6:20 PM
Subject: Re: FOIA Response - concerns over items not included

Dr Rock,

On December 16, 2011, I sent the attached email string to Heidi McClain and cc'ed you regarding the FOIA request I submitted to the district on September 12, 2011. 

The comments below in black and bold are my responses to the district's explanations of why the items noted were not going to be supplied to me on the FOIA request.  I gave you quite a bit of time to respond, however, neither you nor Heidi McClain have responded to my email of 12/16/11. 

I picked up the FOIA documents the district did supply in December and as I expect you are aware, there were additional items that I had requested on the FOIA request that you also did not supply, but were not included on this response of items you were not going to supply.  I will send a separate email with those items to you, Heidi, and the board. 
Since you and Anita Banach have both told me that you do not intend to communicate with me in any way other than communicating receipt of my emails, maybe the board members can ask you some questions on this, since you actually work for the board (rather than the other way around)...

I expect an acceptable (to me) response to this email by Friday afternoon at 5 PM (1/20/12).

I feel that the district's responses (this and the actual documents supplied that were missing additional documents I requested) from my 9/12/11 FOIA request were disingenuous.  They were also much more "opaque" than "transparent".  

CCS Board: Mrs. McGinnis, Mr. Hyer, Mrs. Egan, Mr. Bomier, Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Boatman, and Mrs. Lieblang,

Please inquire of Dr. Rock why he felt it necessary to deny the items on this list.  I will forward the list of additional items that were missing from the FOIA documents to you.  I would appreciate it if you would also follow up with Dr. Rock on those items after I send it.  Please also understand that in the case of your action or lack of action on this, the press will be apprised and my blog will also be updated.  Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns.  I am still a parent of a child in the CCS district.

Also, I would recommend that you ask Dr. Rock for an explanation of the $32,662.14 paid to Coponen Construction Services, LLC between July and October 2011.  Coponen Construction was the construction company used to make multiple repairs to the Bayliss house over the summer and possibly into early fall.  I know that this was not approved by the board.   

Thank you.

Dawn Schaller

From: Dawn Schaller
To: Heidi Mcclain
Cc: Rod Rock
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 10:26:54 AM
Subject: Re: FOIA Response - concerns over items not included

Your response is below in red.  My responses are in black next to what I am commenting on.  Please advise.
Enclosed are the documents related to your requested items.

Several of the items contained in your FOIA fall outside of the scope of MCL 15.231 et seq. for the reason that such public records do not exist.  These items are as follows:

Complete documentation (any and all backup documents and all documents signed) for any decisions made or documents signed by the President of the CCS School Board that was not voted on in a public session by the School Board since 05/01/09: We have no such documentation.  Are you saying that the district does not have this information because the School Board is a separate "public body"?  If you are saying that there are no documents from decisions made by the President of the CCS School Board that were not decided by the full board, then I would have to say that is a violation of FOIA.  There have been multiple arguments during board meetings about decisions made by both Cheryl McGinnis and Steve Hyer while holding the President's position where the full board was not allowed to vote on the matter.  Please advise what you are saying here so I can decide how to take my next steps.
Copy of expense for Barry Bomier’s flight to Washington DC for the February 2010 FRN Conference:  The district did not pay for this flight.  OK

Copy of complete expense claim with receipts for Mr. Hyer’s expenses at the February 2010 FRN Conference:  Mr. Hyer did not submit any expenses for this conference.  OK, obviously he attended with a scholarship from somewhere else.
Cumulative summary revenue and expenses reports for Board account codes:  We do not maintain such reports.  In past FOIA requests I have received these reports.  What is the difference now?

Net Tech Corporation – information on bid process, etc.:  These expenses were annual maintenance fees and thus were not bid.  I asked an accountant to look at all of the district Purchasing policies.  He said that he could not find anything in policy 6320 that distinguishes between an expense and a capital item when talking about the bid process.  Maintenance is an expense item.  It also doesn’t single maintenance out for special treatment, i.e., something that is exempt from the bid process.  He scanned a couple of other policies to see if maintenance was mentioned elsewhere but didn’t see anything.  He said that he believes that if the value of a maintenance contract is sufficiently large to trigger the bid process under State of Michigan rules, then maintenance would have to be bid also.
Cumulative summary revenue and expense reports for fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11 for the CHS Parking 610 account and Jungle Run 610 accounts:  We do not maintain such reports.  The name of the person responsible for both these internal Clarkston High School accounts is Gary Kaul, CHS Principal.  In past FOIA requests I have received cumulative summary revenue and expense reports for full fiscal years for other 610 accounts.  What is the difference now?

Please be advised that MCL 15.233 states, in relevant part,

(4) This act does not require a public body to make a compilation, summary, or report of information…
(5) This act does not require a public body to create a new public record…
Accordingly, all public records that have been requested and exist have been provided.  The total cost for this request is as follows:

Number of pages: 585 x $0.10 per copy = $58.50
Labor:  $15.33 x 22 hours = $337.26
Total cost = $395.76 less credit of $81.50 = Total amount owed of $314.26

The materials will be available at the front desk at the Administration Building anytime after 12:00 noon on Friday, November 18.  Please present your payment to the receptionist.


Heidi S. McClain
District FOIA Coordinator and
Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent

From: Heidi Mcclain
To: Dawn Schaller
Cc: Rod Rock
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 3:52:19 PM
Subject: FOIA Response

Mrs. Schaller,

Please see the attached response regarding your September 12, 2011 FOIA request.  As stated at the end of the letter, your total amount due for this request is $314.26.  Your documents may be picked up at the front desk of the administration office anytime after 12:00 noon on Friday, November 18.

Thank you,

Heidi S. McClain
Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and
Board/Superintendent Communications
Clarkston Community Schools

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