Taxpayer Group Seeks School Board Member Info

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STATE – Is a school board member’s personal email address information that the public has a right to access under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act? The New Jersey School Boards Association doesn’t think so, but a taxpayer group disagrees.

The New Jersey Taxpayers’ Association filed a complaint in Mercer County Superior Court this month, alleging that the NJSBA violated the records law by failing to provide school board members’ personal email addresses.

The NJSBA collects a variety of information about school board members each year in an annual survey. School boards have the option to provide district-issued email addresses, or the members’ personal email addresses, depending on the individual members’ preferences. The NJSBA provided a listing of all of the district-issued email addresses, but held that the personal email addresses were not subject to disclosure.

“The law is not clear as to the obligation to release the personal email addresses as collected by the Association for its database. We hope that the resolution of this matter will provide direction to ensure that the Association’s policies and practices remain in compliance with OPRA,” said Cynthia Jahn, Esq., NJSBA general counsel.

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