Superintendent Porter and School Board:
I have expressed to you before my concerns about texting in the conduct of School District business. To my knowledge, only Superintendent Porter has a smart phone provided by the District. Board members provide and maintain their own private phones. Similarly, virtually all District employees have their own phones, not one provided by the District.
As a result, there is no District maintained mechanism for storing text messages that might be involved with District operations. Consequently, Public Records Requests for text messages can be difficult, if not impossible, as it would require access to private accounts and foreknowledge of an exchange.
This is the reverse of the District maintained email system for which all of you have an account, though often laxly used. All emails sent or received by you on your District account are stored by the District and available for Public Records Requests.
When I raised earlier the issue of using text messages to conduct District business, I was assured that that is never done. When I asked about texting during Board meetings, visible on television, I was assured that such texting was in response to family members or to the public complaining about television reception, never District business.
Given the above, you can imagine my surprise this morning when I read in the Citizen a comment by Board member Andy Griffiths stating that he and other Board members had received a “heads-up” about the sexting issue at HOB from Superintendent Porter “via a group text message to board members.” Such informational exchange certainly sounds to me like the conduct of District business via text messages. That there is a “group text message” system further concerns me.
I hope that the decision to use a text message to communicate on such an important matter as opposed to the more commonly used email was not done to avoid creating an accessible public record. I also hope that this is a singular act, not the latest in a series perhaps of text messages as a way to communicate without a record.
Because all of you were involved in sending or receiving the text message regarding sexting at HOB, I am making a formal Public Records Request for a copy of that text message as well as any response or followup that may have been sent to or by the superintendent or another Board member. I am also requesting copies of any and all text messages exchanged by the superintendent with members of the Board or messages exchanged by Board members within that community since January 1, 2017.