Lee’s Summit School District Wants $40,000 to Show What It’s Teaching Kids
As readers know, over the last few weeks we’ve made public records requests to schools and districts across the state to find out whether they are teaching critical race theory (CRT) or any of its related concepts. You can find the database of records we’ve received here. It was bound to happen, but we finally got a cost estimate for public records that shocked even me, and it’s a doozy.
$40,609.01. That’s what the Lee’s Summit School District wants to complete our Sunshine Law request. From the email:
The total amount that would need to be received to begin the discovery of the records requested would be $40,609.01. I do want to let you know that I have been conservative with the time estimates in order not to inflate the payment amount. However, it very well could require additional time, thus payment, in order to comply with all your requests. [Emphasis mine]
That figure looks bad, but it’s actually far worse than that. The main cost driver for the estimate is the request for whether teachers are including CRT in their lesson plans, and for that, the district estimates it would cost $35,997 per quarter!
That’s right—if you want to find out what’s in Lee’s Summit’s lesson plans for a full year, it looks like you’d be on the hook for over $140,000.
Organization and efficiency of reviewing all lesson plans would need to be a priority in this task. Therefore, I am suggesting that we review one quarter at a time. Each teacher has their own pay rate, depending on degrees completed and years of service. For purposes of this estimate, I will use the lowest hourly pay rate for a teacher which would be $27.69. I also will estimate one hour per teacher to review one quarter of the school year. For us, the first quarter will begin on August 25 and end on October 22. The total estimate would be 1300 hours @ $27.69 = $35,997. [Emphasis mine]
You can peruse the full correspondence at the link. We were able to get a handful of documents from Lee’s Summit prior to this demand; I don’t know what, if anything, changed since then, though it should be noted that the district has been in the news lately over a racial controversy.
Regardless, it’s not just startling that the district would demand tens of thousands of dollars for these records; it’s startling that the district apparently has no idea what teachers are actually teaching in their classrooms. Putting up an absurd barrier like this and preventing parents from seeing what their kids are being taught is bad governance. Lee’s Summit parents deserve better.