LONG BEACH — A public records lawsuit against Ocean Beach School District has been dismissed.
Island County resident Eric Hood sued OBSD on Aug. 26, 2019, alleging the school district didn’t complete a records request the previous year. Hood’s case against OBSD was dismissed in December 2019.
“We made a mistake and we fixed it,” Superintendent Amy Huntley said. “We do everything we can to follow the law and to be as open and honest with our patrons as possible.”
Hood’s OBSD lawsuit loss is the latest of several dismissals. Since 2012, he’s filed 44 lawsuits with state agencies, alleging violations of the Public Records Act. The lawsuits spread across the state.
Hood was contacted for comment by phone and email. He didn’t respond in time for publication.
Most of Hood’s lawsuits were filed against school districts, colleges, and city and county governments. Of the 44 lawsuits, 11 were filed after the OBSD suit.
Only one of Hood’s lawsuits has ended in a win, and another in a loss. The remaining lawsuits are either still active or were dismissed.
The OBSD lawsuit
In his lawsuit, Hood alleged OBSD didn’t respond to his request within the timeframe required by state law.
Former Superintendent Jenny Risner left OBSD June 15, 2018, for a position in Ames, Iowa. She was replaced by Interim Superintendent Scott Fenter, who started July 1, 2018.
Fenter served OBSD as superintendent for a year, finishing this summer when Huntley took office.
On Aug. 26, 2018, Hood emailed Risner, according to the lawsuit. He requested a copy of a recent state audit and all district communications with the auditor’s office. Hood also requested a record of any changes or planned changed by OBSD in response to the audit.
The Public Records Act requires agencies to respond to records requests within five business days. After repeating his Aug. 26 request on Sept. 12, Hood received a response from Fenter on Sept. 13, 2018, according to the lawsuit.
On Sept. 25, Hood received an email from OBSD with 160 pages of records. OBSD told Hood the records included OBSD’s “records relevant” to his request. OBSD also referred Hood to the state auditor’s website, according to the lawsuit.
The Chinook Observer previously covered the OBSD’s audit’s results. The story is available at https://bit.ly/2kCZIU6.