Plymouth-Canton schools offer to fill parent’s FOIA request for $222K

Michigan parent requests documents that lead to schools’ switch to virtual learning

Local school district offers to fill parent's information request for $222,458
Local school district offers to fill parent's information request for $222,458

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – A curious parent requesting information from Plymouth-Canton Community Schools received a bill charging him nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the documents.

The district, like many others, opted for full online education. Parent Tom Parrelley isn’t a fan of this decision and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request looking for specific documents the school board depended on to make their choice.

“I wanted to know why the decision was made, what science and what facts were used and are continuing to be used,” Parrelley said.

The father received a letter from the district saying that the cost of Plymouth-Canton Community School district records is $222,458.50 and requires paying half up front.

“I don’t have a quarter of a million dollars,” Parrelley said. “I checked the lottery numbers and I have not come through on them yet, which is my next best deal.”

The school district told Local 4 that it “takes every Freedom of Information request it receives seriously. In this particular matter, the request captured an extremely broad range of potential keyword searches and covered an unbounded timeframe. These features combined to indicate that the district would likely be required to review and redact literally thousands upon thousands of potentially responsive documents.”

“They’re mad at me because I’m not a fan, I’m a critic,” Parrelley said. “That’s fine, give me the documents and show me I’m wrong and shut me up.”

Citizens have an option to submit a more focused FOIA request to cut down on costs, but there’s also an option to take it to court. Parrelley said he’s considering both options.

READ MORE: Return To School

About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.