Caldwell man wins open records lawsuit against Middleton schools

A district judge has sided with a Caldwell man who sued the Middleton School District in a public records dispute, the Idaho Press reported Tuesday.

District Judge Thomas Whitney sided with Ray Moore in an Oct. 7 ruling, and said the district must provide Moore unredacted copies of the requested records by Oct. 25. Originally, the district denied Moore’s requests, provided him heavily redacted records or billed him more than $3,000 for the documents, the Idaho Press reported.

New district Superintendent Sherawn Reberry said the district will comply with the ruling. “We intend to be fully transparent to the extent of the law in the future,” Reberry told the Idaho Press.

Reberry was hired in July, and, in part, the records dispute centers on a controversy that predates her arrival. Moore sought records regarding the school board’s May decision not to extend a contract to Middleton High School Principal Ben Merrill. Among other records requests, Moore also sought records regarding allegations against Marianne Blackwell, a Merrill supporter who survived a recall election in August.

Moore was involved in a separate — and also unsuccessful — August recall election against trustees Aleisha McConkie and Tim Winkle, the Idaho Press reported. These trustees voted not to extend Merrill’s contract.

Under Idaho law, members of the public have only one recourse in a records dispute: filing a civil lawsuit.

In a separate matter, Idaho Education News has joined in a civil lawsuit against Ada County over a series of public records requests. District Judge Deborah Bail heard arguments in this case earlier this month.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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