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Charter Oak Primary School PTC Special Action Committee

C/o Charter Oak Primary School PTC * 5221 Timberedge Dr. * Peoria, IL 61615

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information: Theresa Koehler Special Action Committee 309/693-0026 theresakoehler@comcast.net

CHARTER OAK COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO QUESTIONABLE DISTRICT 150 SCHOOL BOARD FOIA REQUEST Charter Oak community questions FOIA response from D150 regarding testing policies PEORIA, IL, January 20, 2014 The Charter Oak Special Action Committee (SAC) speaks for hundreds of Peoria taxpayers and parents when it questions the response it received as a result of a FOIA request sent to District 150 dated January 6, 2014, asking for a copy of District 150s testing irregularity and disciplinary policies as required by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)1. See attached for copy of actual D-150 FOIA request letter. REQUEST: Please provide a copy of the testing policies, as required by the ISBE, Professional Testing Practices for Educations, ISAT, as noted below: ISBEs usual policy is to leave sanctions for school or district staff involved in testing irregularities to the local district. Districts must therefore have in place a local testing policy that includes sanctions and disciplinary measures that will be used if testing irregularities occur. RESPONSE: The District does not possess records responsive to your request. The Charter Oak SAC responds to this failure to provide requested information in two ways: 1. Either District 150, under Superintendent Grenita Lathan's control, does not have a testing policy in place that includes sanctions and disciplinary measures as is required by state law. If this is the case, District 150's administration is in direct violation of ISBEs requirements and policies; or 2. The District 150 administration is playing hide the ball with the public and is withholding evidence from the taxpayers and concerned citizens of the Charter Oak community and Peoria in general. If this is the case, then according to Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act2, District 150 has failed to provide documents that meet the scope of our request and is in violation of FOIA laws.

Furthermore, in the event that District 150 claims that the SAC used incorrect language in our FOIA request,3 the SAC submits that the verbiage of our request comes directly from page 13 of the ISBEs own website regarding their testing policy requirements, and that District 150 is making it improperly difficult to acquire public information.

In either case, the Charter Oak PTC Special Action Committee is outraged by the Administration's lack of professionalism and their attitude towards the citizens and taxpayers of Peoria. We call for an immediate explanation and publication of the policy in question. The SAC will continue to fight for transparency and accountability from District 150's Administration and from Superintendent Grenita Lathan in particular.
1. ISBE. (2014). Professional Testing Practices for Educators. Retrieved from Illinois State Board of Education: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/assessment/pdfs/2014/isat/prof-test-prac14.pdf Page 13; Disciplinary measures for students are handled at the school or district level. ISBEs usual policy is to leave sanctions for school or district staff involved in testing irregularities to the local district. Districts must therefore have in place a local testing policy that includes sanctions and disciplinary measures that will be used if testing irregularities occur. However, in extreme cases, ISBE reserves the right to pursue its own sanctions for school or district testing irregularities. 2. Illinois General Assembly. (2014). Illinois Compiled Statutes. Retrieved from Illinois General Assembly: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=85&ChapterID=2 5 ILCS 140/1 (from Ch. 116, par. 201) Section 1; Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of government, it is declared to be the public policy of the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees consistent with the terms of this Act. Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest. The General Assembly hereby declares that it is the public policy of the State of Illinois that access by all persons to public records promotes the transparency and accountability of public bodies at all levels of government. It is a fundamental obligation of government to operate openly and provide public records as expediently and efficiently as possible in compliance with this Act. 3. Illinois General Assembly. (2014). Illinois Compiled Statutes. Retrieved from Illinois General Assembly: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=85&ChapterID=2 5 ILCS 140/ Section 3.3; This Act is not intended to compel public bodies to interpret or advise requesters as to the meaning or significance of the public records. (Source: P.A. 96-542, eff. 1-1-10.)