Per Listener Requests, We Publish The Email Correspondence Between Girard at-Large and Hooksett (SAU 15) Superintendent Dr. Charles P. Littlefield.

UPDATE:  LINK TO VIDEO OF LITTLEFIELD DENYING HIS DENYING THE EXISTENCE OF THE ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS NOW ADDED!

 

HOOKSETT, NH  Published April 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM–After a motion made by newly elected school board member John Lyscars, our “favorite elf,” to digitize and post the policies of the Hooksett School Board on its Web site failed, we got curious and sent a Right to Know Request to Dr. Charles P. “Phil” Littlefield, superintendent of SAU 15.  After several exchanges, he provided the information, which has let to several new questions that, no doubt, will be debated and played out not only in Hooskett, but in districts across the region about what school boards are and aren’t told and why.  We are happy to provide this public service and ensure that members of the Hooksett School Board know what’s happening in their own district offices.

 

NEWS FROM OUR OWN BACKYARD, ONLY ON GIRARD AT LARGE

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 3:31 pm
To: [email protected]

Dr. Littlefield.

I am aware that School Board Member Lyscars made a motion to have the school board’s operating procedures “digitized” and posted to the school district’s Web site.  I am also aware that that motion failed.

However, inasmuch as the operating guidelines and policies of the school board are public documents, I am submitting this Right to Know Request to ask that the electronic version of the board’s policy manual be forwarded without delay.

As you know, electronic files are not to be withheld from the public and are not subject to any “per page fees” levied by communities as they require neither paper, printer resources or staff time to forward.

Also, since I can think of no reason why either the Hooksett School Board or its administrative personnel would want to withhold this information from the public, I look forward to and appreciate your prompt attention to this request.

Best regards,

RH Girard

Host

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 3:44 pm
To: “[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>

The policy book does not exist in electronic format.

You are welcome to review the policy book at 90 Farmer Rd.

As you may know, you may also gave the book reproduced in hard copy.  The charge would be consistent with that charged by the Town of Hooksett

Sent from my iPhone

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 3:50 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;

If the policy manual does not exist electronically, by what means is it updated with changes and when was the last time it was updated?  Given that I personally have been creating electronic documents since 1990, I find it hard to believe that the district’s policy manual exists only in hard copy form.

 

Subject: Re: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 4:00 pm
To: “[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>

Individual policies developed or updated more recently do exist in electronic format, the manual does not.

If you would like those as opposed to the policy book you requested, we would be glad to provide them.

I assume they will exceed email limits.  If you can provide the digital media you would like them copied to, we would be glad to provide them.

Sent from my iPhone

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 4:07 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;

Dr., how does the district produce the manual for newly elected board members?


——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Re: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 4:16 pm
To: “[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>

We try to retrieve the manual from outgoing Board members.  If that is not possible the entire book is photocopied.

Sent from my iPhone

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 4:26 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;

Dr., pardon my skepticism.  However, in today’s day and age, when even Manchester has this information in electronic format, I find it beyond belief that one would have to chase down outgoing members of the board for their manuals or photocopy a spare master copy that’s stored somewhere just in case you can’t get it back.  Having served in elected office, I can tell you that even if I surrendered mine, the pages would be covered with my notes and probably unusable to the person who received it.  Scanners are not new technology and even if they were, the amount of time it would take a secretary to type the old into the new to create an electronic document would likely not take more than a day.  Seriously, Dr. how can Hooksett credibly be believed to be so far behind the times on something simple like this?

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 4:31 pm
To: “[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
You have made a request that I have indicated can be honored in a number of ways.  I will proceed as you see fit to access the public documents you have requested.

Sent from my iPhone

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 4:38 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;

Let’s see if the email method works.  Given that the documents you do have are likely text documents, it is likely they will not exceed the size limits on any email you might send or that I might receive.  If they truly exist as separate documents, not conjoined in any manual, then I can see no reason why they would exceed any size limit.  So, let’s start there.  Please email any and all electronic documents that are contained within the Hooksett School Board’s policy manual.

Please also indicate exactly what does not exist in electronic format.

Thank you.


——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Wed, April 03, 2013 4:48 pm
To:[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>

Your request for policies that exist in electronic format will be honored.  You should receive them as soon as tomorrow.  If a document exists that indicates what is available electronically and what is not, that will be forwarded as well.  If it does not, that report will not be generated.

If, in fact, email size limits are exceeded, I will request you receive documents in multiple emails.

No need to respond.  Your request will be honored.

DISCLAIMER: This e-mail is intended solely for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged information. Any review, dissemination, copying, printing, or other use of this e-mail by persons or entities other than the addressee is strictly prohibited. If you receive this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the material from any computer.

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 12:20 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;

You know, it dawns on me, Dr. Littlefield, that the path of greatest efficiency for this request, and the district, would be to scan the document and make it available electronically.  How many times has it been photocopied when it could just have been printed?  More to the point, if it were scanned once, it would never need to be photocopied again.  Has your staff so little to do that they can spend time making copies when printing would save so much time?

As to your refusal to provide a listing of what is not electronically available, I think we both know that does not comply with the Right to Know Law.  I ask that you reconsider this request.

On a final note, I might as well ask for the policy manuals for the Auburn and Candia School Boards as well.  Since I have these documents for virtually every other community in my listening area, I’d like to have them added to my collection, electronically, of course.  Consider this a RTK request, too.

Enjoy your day.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this request.

RH Girard

 

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 1:44 pm
To: “[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>

Thank you for your opinions.

As to your assertion that  “As to your refusal to provide a listing of what is not electronically available….”, please document that.  My recollection is that I wrote “If a document exists that indicates what is available electronically and what is not, that will be forwarded as well.  If it does not, that report will not be generated.”  Is there is any provision of RSA 91-A:4 that requires a document that does not exist to be generated, I would be interested in the citation.

Your request for Auburn and Candia policy manuals is acknowledged.  In neither case does the policy manual exist in electronic format.  Individual policies that comprise the manual are available as individual documents and will be forwarded.
 
Your final note is of interest.  If and when we develop and electronic manual we could profit from what others have successfully accomplished.  Please consider this a friendly request to forward those manuals that you currently have for everyu other community in your listening area.  It would be greatly appreciated.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 2:28 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;

Dr. Littlefield:
Where you have written documents that are not electronically available, it is reasonable to assume that the request to know what they are falls under the Right to Know Law given that we are dealing with allegedly publicly available information.  Since some school board’s policies are apparently maintained only on paper, while others are available electronically, how am I to know what’s on paper if I only receive what’s available electronically?  A reasonable application of the Right to Know Law leads one to conclude that the district is obligated to advise what it is not providing.
You could, I suppose, simply fax that which is not available electronically to me at 1/866-491-2003. Once received, I will gladly email the received document to you.  It will be received as a PDF document.  You will have a digital form of these policies as a result which will spare the district the need to either photocopy or scan this information the future.
I look forward to receiving the policies from Candia and Auburn.  Thank you.
As to the manuals I’ve collected, please access this link from the Manchester site http://bosc.mansd.org/policies and this one from Bedford http://www.sau25.net/schoolboard.cfm?subpage=628642.  They are particularly useful.  The documents I have are stored in an external drive which I use both for backup and storage.  When next I access that drive, I will send the additional information.
In the spirit of cooperation, might I suggest an OCR scan of the paper documents?  They can be scanned into one, searchable document and uploaded as one file to your district’s site.  It’s not much harder than photocopying.  Even if you did it as a regular scan, all pages could be easily scanned as into one document and uploaded as one PDF document.
 
Regards,
RH Girard.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 2:47 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;

Dr. Littlefield.

Goffstown and Merrimack handle their policy manuals on-line differently than do Manchester and Bedford.  They are an inferior format, but here are additional examples for your consideration.

Derry’s on the other hand is pretty good.
 
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]” target=”_blank”>[email protected]>
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 2:52 pm
To: “[email protected]” target=”_blank”>[email protected]” <[email protected]” target=”_blank”>[email protected]

A sincere thanks.  The Bedford link was great and looks like a very doable conversion.  It does a great job following the National School Biards indexing format.
 
Live a learn.
Thanks again

Sent from my iPhone

 

From: [email protected]“>[email protected] [[email protected]“>mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 3:22 PM
To: Phil Littlefield
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request

Glad to be of assistance.
Given that these policies seemed generally available, in whatever format, in most of the surrounding towns except those in your district, you can imagine my skepticism at their non-existence.
For your info, here’s Bow’s (which isn’t great)
and Litchfield’s (which is pretty good)
For some reason, I can’t get the Londonderry link to work.  Sorry about that.  It just won’t open and I expect that it’s becuase it’s a zip file and I’m working form my Mac.  My PC isn’t available at the moment.
By the way, FYI, I’m used to school district’s being very uncooperative in the provision of public information.  So, if I came on a bit strong, please accept my apologies.  I have, on many occassions, been told something doesn’t exist only to either find it or to have it released either to their school boards or another media outlet after the fact.
In any event, I look forward to receiving what you have to offer.
 
Regards,
 
Rich

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: Phil Littlefield <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 3:34 pm
To: “[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
I appreciate all of this.

I’m smiling just a bit about encountering uncooperative school districts.  I may be an anomaly (good or bad) and truly believe that we conduct the public’s business in public and the public has a right to the information they own.  No apologies are necessary.  I’ve enjoyed our discussion.
Peace.
 
Phil

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Right to Know Request
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 5:36 pm
To: “Phil Littlefield” <“>[email protected]>;
Thanks and glad the info is helpful.  I’m looking forward to receiving your district/towns’ information in the near future.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Emailing: Hooksett School Board Policies
From: Cathy Richard <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
Date: Thu, April 04, 2013 5:47 pm
To: “[email protected]“>[email protected]” <[email protected]“>[email protected]>
The message is ready to be sent with the following file or link attachments:
Hooksett School Board Policies
Note: To protect against computer viruses, e-mail programs may prevent sending or receiving certain types of file attachments. Check your e-mail security settings to determine how attachments are handled.
Girard at Large Note:  This email contained a zip file with 307 electronic documents.  Some did appear redundant, meaning they had the same name, but were in different formats.  Regardless, it was a substantial transmission of information.

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 5:00 AM
To: Cathy Richard
Cc: Phil Littlefield
Subject: RE: Emailing: Hooksett School Board Policies


Thank you, Cathy.

Is this all of the information contained in board member policy manuals?

Rich Girard


——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Emailing: Hooksett School Board Policies
From: Cathy Richard <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Fri, April 05, 2013 10:35 am
To: “[email protected]” <“>[email protected]>;

Yes


——– Original Message ——–
Subject:
From: Cathy Richard <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Wed, April 10, 2013 3:49 pm
To: “[email protected]” <“>[email protected]>;

Girard at Large Note:  Policies for Candia and Auburn were attached to this email.  There was no note in the subject line or text in the email.
 
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE:
From: <“>[email protected]>;
Date: Wed, April 10, 2013 3:55 pm
To: “Cathy Richard” <“>[email protected]>;

Thank you!

-End-