Sumner Schools Shun Modern Era
BY JUSTIN OWEN
Recently, Joelton resident Ken Jakes sought information from the Sumner County school system. Like many residents seeking public records here in the 21st Century, Jakes submitted his request to the school district via email. The district’s response: “Not so fast, techie.” His request was denied because the school district apparently does not accept public records requests via this new-age email wizardry. (Speak up, Sumner County. We can’t hear you way back there in 1952.)
This would be knee-slapping hilarious if such stubbornness didn’t cost Sumner County taxpayers $94,000 in legal bills defending the district’s policy. Maybe state law does not mandate that local governments accept open records requests via email, but common sense sure does. Taxpayers should be outraged that the school district had the audacity to spend their hard-earned money defending such stupidity in court.
Sadly, this is just chump change for the school district. Late last year, district officials pleaded with the Sumner County Commission to raise property taxes. The commission eventually raised taxes by more than 10% in part to send more money to the school system.
As one observer noted, the district’s legal bills are enough money to pay the salaries of two new teachers. I bet those teachers could even spend a little time after school bringing their bosses into the modern era. I would email Sumner County Director of Schools Del Phillips this blog post, but somehow I doubt he’d receive it. And I seem to have misplaced my telegraph machine.