Imagine you can see the emails of the principal and assistant principal where you are mentioned. “If Ms. Smith wants to bring up the UFT, then let’s go observe her class. Maybe she will think twice next time.”
Did you email the superintendent and never hear back? Imagine you can see if they forwarded the email to others.
Do you believe the funds in your community school are being misappropriated? Imagine you can see where the money is going and what the recent audit done on your school looks like.
Is your school low on material and professional development, yet your administrators are raking in per-session overtime? Imagine you can see all their time cards.
Are incidents being swept under the rug? Imagine you can access the reported numbers and compare to the ones collected by staff.
Are you asking to see the SLT View of the budget and your principal is giving you and other members the run around? Do you want to see all the school’s expenditures?
You can.. FOIL it.
I have acquired a name in the slammer (Rubber Room) -“Frankie the FOILer“. I was introduced to the power of Freedom of Information Law by some supporters back in March 2012. Since then I have submitted quite a few interesting F.O.I.L. requests to the NYC DOE FOIL unit. Examples:
- All emails to and from my principal’s official school mail account with the word “Portelos” in the Subject or Body of the email from certain dates.
- All emails to and from several top brass DOE employee’s email accounts with the word “Portelos” in the Subject or Body of the email from certain dates.
- My principal’s school credit card statements for the last 5 years. Yes credit card purchases! Here they are by the way
- My principal’s and assistant principal’s per session time cards for the last three years and per-session spreadsheet (this one should be sent back fairly quickly.) Here are some of the findings
- Any SCI or OSI report that had my principal and two assistant principal’s mentioned as a subject or witness to an investigation in the past. They withhold them if they are unsubstantiated.
- Any audit report conducted at my school the last 7 years. Here is what they sent
- The entire DOE personnel file of several employees, like Greg Bowen (Deputy Network Leader of CFN 604, who lied about my behavior and had me sent 20 miles away for over a year. Here it is.) The personnel file of OSI Investigator Dennis Boyles (more about him later. Here it is.) Linda Hill personnel file FOILed by Betsy Combier. Here it is.
- School video surveillance footage for a specified location and date and time.
- Arbitration and grievance decisions
- A whole series of other records….
Requesting Records could be cumbersome especially when dealing with a district that does not want you to easily access records. For this reason I suggest using a service like www.EduFOIL.com. For a small fee they will make the requests and manage all the delays for you.