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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney with significant and substantial experience in multiple areas of law.
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New York State. FOIL, Freedom of Information Law, NYs variety

Resolved Question:

New York State. FOIL, Freedom of Information Law, NY's variety of FOIA.

Children admitted or denied an advanced program at 8th grade level, where the criteria are stated. Under FOIL or otherwise, can a parent get, w/o names, the test percentiles of those that WERE admitted. Effectively, it's sort of like a reverse discrimination case where they lie about the scores instead of just being honest about it.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Joseph replied 9 months ago.
Hello,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

I need a bit more information from you before I can proceed to provide you with a complete and thorough answer to your question.

Was the reason for the denial as inadequate test scores?

Would it be sufficient for you to obtain the average test scores for the school and grade?

Finally, have you requested this information and been denied?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

The answer to inadequate test scores is sort of "yes," --but it is known for sure that local favorites or affirmative action situations got in with decidedly lower ones.


 


The issue is, are these public records I can demand/apply for?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.


No. Waiting for advice before really pissing them off and accomplishing nothing. These boys have to deal with them for many years yet.

Expert:  Joseph replied 9 months ago.
Hello Roy,

I will look into this for you and get back to you shortly.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.


good enough. Part of it, immediately, is to verify that school districts are "agencies" under NYS law. They appear to be from looking at FOIL.


 


They say their must be a Records Access Officer for each entity in NYS. I'm frankly afraid to ask for that w/o advice because if schools are not "agencies" under NYS FOIL, then it's a hornet's next for no gain.

Expert:  Joseph replied 9 months ago.
Hello Roy,

School Districts are definitely agencies under New York State law.

See here:

http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/freedomfaq.html

"Do I contact the Committee on Open Government to get public records?

No, the Committee does not maintain records generally. To obtain records, you must contact the agency that you believe maintains possession of the records. For example, if you are interested in obtaining minutes of a school board meeting, your request should be made to the school district."

You should be successful in obtaining this information as well, since your request pertains to a record that they would have, and since you are requesting that any and all identifying information regarding particular scores is redacted, it wouldn't violate any of the other children's right to privacy.

Also, to clarify, you don't actually need to determine who the Records Access Officer is prior to making the request. It is sufficient to write the request to the 'Records Access Officer' of the School District, without writing that person's particular name.



I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying or follow up questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service. Please contact me first if you are contemplating leaving me a negative rating, as I’ll be happy to continue to address your concerns until you are completely satisfied with my service.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work. Please also rate me highly (9-10) when you receive your customer satisfaction survey as well.

Thanks and best of luck!

-Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4872
Experience: Attorney with significant and substantial experience in multiple areas of law.
Joseph and 11 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.


Only follow-up, and thanks for the other: If they just blatantly physically say no, and I've seen in consulting at non-profits, separate fed law for disclosing top salaries, etc. --- if they just say no, like Nancy Reagan, then what, recourse to the FOIL board? Surely not that high up.

Expert:  Joseph replied 9 months ago.
Nice reference to 'just say no.'

No, the appeal would first go within the agency itself. In the situation with a school district, to their designated FOIL appeals officer, which should be a member of the school board.

See here for an appeal letter example:

http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/right_to_know.html#appealsample

Customer: replied 9 months ago.


Excellent. Thanks so much.

Expert:  Joseph replied 9 months ago.
Thank you, Roy. Happy to help and best of luck!

I imagine you may be familiar with this site, but it gives you test score averages for every grade in every public school, so I thought it may be useful to you as well:

http://www.greatschools.org/test/landing.page?state=NY&tid=30
Expert:  Joseph replied 9 months ago.
Hello Roy,

Just wanted to check in to see if you had any follow up or clarifying questions regarding the above information.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

Thanks and best of luck!

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