Tuesday, March 22, 2011

South Carolina High Court Sides with Daily on FOIA Request

The Supreme Court of South Carolina's buildingImage via WikipediaIn Evening Post Pub. Co. d/b/a The Post and Courier v. Berkeley County School District (Case No. 26949), the South Carolina Supreme Court this week reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the school district and ordered the district to produce to the daily newspaper a copy of the blank questionnaire used by the nine-member county school board to evaluate the performance of former Supt. Chester Floyd.

The newspaper and school district have been at loggerheads since 2007 when the board denied The Post and Courier's request under the state's Freedom of Information Act [S.C. Code Sec. 30-4-10] for each board member's summation of Floyd's job performance, citing attorney-client privilege as protecting the documents because the board's counsel had overseen the process.

Floyd, who left Berkeley County in 2009 and presently serves as Superintendent for Lexington County School District 3, according to The Post and Courier, received a 5 percent salary boost in 2007 to $196, 980, based on a favorable review from five of the board's nine members.  Berkeley County officials refused to provide the newspaper with the remaining four members' evaluations of Floyd, instead, releasing only an overall evaluation of his performance.

According to an article in The Post and Courier, the school district has thus far spent more than $73,000 in legal fees defending its position in the case.

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