FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Tupman, Deputy Attorney General
Phone: (302) 739-7641
Date: August 28, 2002
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT COMPLAINT
AGAINST JOINT SCHOOL BOARDS OF
NEW CASTLE COUNTY RESOLVED
Joint Board determined to be a "public body" for purposes of FOIA
(Dover, DE): Attorney General M. Jane Brady announced that her office has issued an opinion which determines that the Joint School Board of New Castle County constitutes a public body for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and therefore is subject to all of the requirements of the open meeting laws.
The Attorney General's Opinion is in response to a complaint received from James Parks, a resident in the Brandywine School District, alleging that a Joint Board, comprised of representatives of the six school districts in northern New Castle County (Appoquinimink, Brandywine, Christina, Colonial, Red Clay and New Castle Vocational-Technical), was holding monthly meetings in violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
After a thorough review of relevant statutes, case law, Attorney General's opinions and court decisions in other states, the Department of Justice determined that the Joint Board is a "public body" for the purposes of FOIA based on the following criteria:
The opinion concludes, "the Joint Board is a 'public body' for purposes of
FOIA and subject to all of the requirements of the open meeting laws. We direct each of the participating school boards to notice these meetings to the public in the future in the same manner as they would a meeting of the individual school board under FOIA and to maintain minutes of the joint meetings."