With school set to begin in September time is of the essence, as New York City Government delays responding to Stop The Madrassa’s July 23rd FOIL Request. From the Aug 1st letter Appealing the city’s non-compliance:
FACTS. On July 23, 2007, we emailed our clients’ FOIL Request to the respective offices of the
NYCDOE and New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) authorized and appointed to
receive such requests. (Paper copies were mailed that same date by US Post.)
On July 25, 2007, Natacha Beaufils, the FOIL Coordinator for the NYCDOE acknowledged
receipt of the FOIL request by telecopier transmission and indicated a response date of September
On July 31, 2007, Nellie Perez, the Records Access Officer for the NYSED acknowledged receipt
of the FOIL request by email and indicated, not a response date, but a date of August 27, 2007, to
inform us “whether [the] request will be granted or denied in whole or in part.” In other words,
there was no indication in this acknowledgment that production of all, or that portion of the FOIL
request which might be granted, will be forthcoming on August 27 or some later undisclosed date.
Further, there was absolutely no explanation given for the delay.
We hereby formally appeal from the non-compliance with Section 3(a) of the Freedom of
Information Act to our FOIL Request (NYCDOE FOIL Request number 5281) by the City of
New York Department of Education and by the New York State Education Department.
Both the NYCDOE and the NYSED have so far failed to properly respond to the FOIL request in the manner provided for by law. On NYCDOE’s part:
The July 25, 2007, acknowledgment to the FOIL Request by the NYCDOE provides for a
response date well beyond the 20-business day period, which should properly have been August
15, 2007. The NYCDOE acknowledgment provides no explanation “for the inability to grant the
request within the twenty business days” and therefore is not in compliance with section 3(a) of
NYCDOE’s projected response date is a full 2 work weeks past the 20 day deadline provided for by law, therefore Stop The Madrassa is appealing their non-compliance, and asking that Chancellor Klein direct his staff to comply with the FOIL request forthwith. The state’s Department of Education also fails to reply appropriately and within the boundaries of the law, providing not a response date within the legal time frame, but a date when it will announce whether it has decided to respond or not:
The July 31, 2007, acknowledgment to the FOIL Request by the NYSED provides for a response
date of August 27, 2007 (26 business days from the date of receipt of the FOIL Request by the
Moreover, the “response date” of August 27, 2007, is not a date for the actual production but
rather to inform us whether and to what extent the NYSED will respond. But the law requires not
simply a 20-business day period to inform us of some future production, but the actual production
unless the responding agency articulates in writing the reason for the delay and provides a reasonable date certain for such production.
Stop the Madrassa has also asked the State Board of Regents to instruct their staff to respond in the legally appropriate manner and time frame. The continued delays in which the New York government offices have responded to a request for information from its citizenry are just another reason to be concerned about the opening of KGIA. Without free access to information about curricula, teachers, numbers and backgrounds of students, we are forced to draw our conclusions based only on what information IS available. And that is troubling information indeed.