Update on LISD Discipline Data Investigation

Date 2010/6/3 19:20:00 | Topic: Lewisville ISD Notes

I just wanted to take a moment to update our readers on our ongoing attempt to obtain and analyze data on discipline incidents within Lewisville ISD.

For more information about what we're planning to look at, please see our earlier post about this.
Update from 6/3:
We have received the document from LISD. Unfortunately, the document was provided in PDF format, with seemingly random redactions throughout. Columns for date and student's age were not included. We're currently in-process of writing a data-extraction program to get the data from the PDF into a format that can be worked with in a spreadsheet or database.

In the meantime, I've uploaded the document so that our readers can download and take a look if they want. The update from 5/27, below, I hate to say, was written when I was very frustrated. As a result, one commenter says it was "chest thumping". While I'm not the type to do that, the criticism is taken.

Original Update from 5/27

The current status is that we had received a bill for $427.50 for 15 "programming" hours for the 9 columns of data we requested. We felt it was unreasonable for two reasons:
1. District administration NEED to already have a report like this that they can look at to determine whether discipline is consistently applied, or some campuses have worse problems than others.

2. Fifteen hours is too much programming time for what should be a simple SQL query. Indeed, the district couldn't justify the hours, and refused to release the source code for the query, citing a need to protect its software vendor. (Don't you wish they had as much concern for the public's right to know?)

Public entities in Texas are required to waive charges for public information if they deem that a request serves the public interest. LISD has an official policy of not making that determination - EVER. It's a clear violation of the legislative intent behind the Public Information Act, but unfortunately it's not a violation that is enforced due to weak language in the law. So LISD does the bare minimum, and works to stifle freedom of the press and freedom of speech. It is my experience that LISD is unlike almost any other of our local governmental bodies in this aspect.

Our next step was to ask our newly elected LISD Board members to intervene, and ask the communications office for the information to review for their own information, which would then make the data pre-existing and subject to release without charge.

In the interim, a conversation with the Attorney General's office confirmed that LISD had made a technical error in dealing with the request, and that because of the error, our liability was limited to $40 in charges. Despite informing us weeks ago that the request had been done, LISD informed us last Friday that the request would be $40, and that they would notify us when it was ready.

After ignored emails from us checking the status, LISD finally responded today to let us know that they would let us know. It took further prodding to ascertain that the current status is that it is pending FERPA review. FERPA is the federal law protecting certain confidential data relating to the identity of specific students.

Again, for the record, it is not our intent to identify specific students, but rather to obtain data sufficient for cross-tabulating incidents and punishments with campuses and other demographic data.

So far we have collected $300 for our public information fund, so we don't expect that this request will take all of it, unless there are problems that require us to go back and submit a modified request. We're still happy to refund the unused portion if our donors want it back, but we'd like to ask if you'll stick with us for awhile until we can get this resolved.

Much thanks for the support and encouragement from LISD parents and community members.

- TopPosts2010

This article comes from The Lewisville Texan Journal

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