About half of Connecticut’s 149 public school districts
responded within 24 hours to the Freedom of Information request seeking copies
of school superintendent contracts.
The state’s Freedom of Information Act requires a response
within four days, but this can be just a confirmation of receiving the request
and an estimated time frame for when the documents will be provided. If no
response is given by the fourth business day, it is automatically considered a
denial and the requester may file a complaint with the state’s Freedom of
Our test showed that 119 school districts out of 149 passed
with flying colors. In fact, those school districts did not only respond within
the required four days, but had also delivered the contracts within that time
Seventy-three school districts delivered the contracts
within 24 hours, and 30 of those actually sent them in the same day. The
fastest were Wolcott (12 minutes), Meriden (25 minutes) and Preston (30
The slowest response was from the Torrington school district
(28 business days), where a reporter had asked for the contract before we
started requesting copies from other districts, and had also asked for multiple
contracts in addition to the superintendent’s. An FOI response can vary
depending on how many documents the agency has to provide and how long it might
take to put them together.
Shelton and Region 13 (Coginchaug) each took 18 business
days to provide their contracts, but Shelton was in the process of revising its
contract with the superintendent and it had not been signed by the time we
first requested it. The Torrington contract copy we received was also not
signed and dated until the day after we received the copy.
As of Nov. 9, we were still waiting for contracts from Bridgeport,
Brookfield, Stamford and Region 19, which were requested between Oct. 11 and
We had asked for the contracts to be delivered
electronically, like in a PDF file, and for the district to waive the cost
associated with the request. Under FOI law, a municipality can charge up to 50
cents per page for paper copies of a contract.
Two districts – Region 5 (Amity) and Naugatuck – requested that
we pick up the contracts in person and charged us for the copies. We paid Amity
$7.50 and Naugatuck $8 for a total project cost of $15.50. All other districts
waived the fee, including the seven districts that sent the contracts in via
postal mail (Newington, Portland, Farmington, Watertown, Simsbury, Waterford
and Region 11).
Two school districts faxed their contracts (Brooklyn and
Voluntown) and one superintendent (Sprague) dropped off a contract in person at