Wide variety of public requests asked of BISD

Second in an intermittent series.

The Bainbridge Island School District has received 19 public records requests from January through April.

There is no fee for inspection of public records. However, if the requestor wants paper or electronic copies costs are: 15 cents per page hard copy, 10 cents per page for scanning, 5 cents for every four electronic files, and actual costs for mailing and other media reproduction.

“BISD cannot speak to the requestor’s intention or the reason they submitted the request. BISD understands and values the purpose of the public records law, which is to give the public access to how taxpayer dollars are spent,” Erin Bischoff says in an email. She is the BISD public information officer.

The request that has taken the most time by far was from WA Student Advocates, which was charged $38.80. It asks for copies of IEPs for any student 12 or older who had been determined to have a social, emotional and/or behavioral disability. It asks for copies of tests/assessments on those students and any disciplinary records, including how they were disciplined. It also asks for plans to address the issues with those students. The timeline was June 1, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2023.

Next on the list was a student who was charged $5.35 for communications about him or her, including attendance records. Students are not named.

All of the other requests were charged $1 or less. Some of the more notable ones include:

  • Joy Gjersvold asked for the district’s K-12 plan for when a student wants to use a name other than their given legal name and wishes to use new pronouns. Provide information on staff training and when the plan is utilized.
  • Charlotte Rovelstad’s request for communications between the public and school officials in which a request was made to remove instructional materials addressing equity, anti-racism and history of oppressed peoples from January 2021 to March 17, 2023. She also asked for one regarding the Multicultural Advisory Council meeting notes since May of 2020.
  • Nathan Pilling filed a request regarding information on a Feb. 28 incident in which a student left Ordway Elementary and was later placed in the back of a Bainbridge Island Police Department vehicle.
  • Marcus Gerlach for his request regarding all of the district’s information regarding the leave of absence, resignation, termination or separation of Charisa Moore by the district. Timeline was 2021-23.
  • Video footage of the incident that occurred the morning of March 13 at Wilkes Elementary inside and outside of Mr. Eisenhood’s classroom between 8 and 9:40 a.m.
  • List of juniors and seniors for military recruiter Staff Sgt. Anthony Moniz.
  • All communication to/from Eric Alvarado aka Eric Arcana regarding Paper & Leaf from 2017 to March 29, 2023.
  • Copy of March 9 Route 32 video involving a student.

Angela Sawyer was hired in September 2022 as BISD Public Records officer, a full-time, year-round position.

BISD began charging fees through its online portal Jan. 1: to offset the costs of records fulfillment. The fees allowed by statute are nominal in comparison to the actual time and labor involved, Bischoff says in her email. And the scope of requests can be broad, sometimes involving hundreds of thousands of records. The parties making those broad requests frequently lose interest. By charging fees BISD is able to keep the requester engaged or close the request.

“That helps us to manage our workload. It is our hope that by assessing a fee, the requestor will honor the request rather than having the work be all for naught,” Bischoff’s email concludes.