Colonial School District Denies Right to Know Request to Receive Copy of RFP Seeking Proposal for Position of Solicitor submitted a right-to-know request on December 7th to obtain a copy of the RFP through which the Colonial School Board sought proposals from law firms for the position of solicitor.

The reasoning for the denial is that there is a law that states they don’t have to provide it until after a selection is determined and that the publisher of is not an attorney (who could provide the requested services).

Here is the denial letter:

Please note that the law that the district refers to doesn’t say the school district can’t share it, it just allows them not to. We googled “school district,” “RFP,” and “legal services” and found that many school districts posted their RFP for a solicitor for everyone to see. Here are just a few of the many examples (the article continues after these examples):

The purpose of our wanting the RFP is that it is newsworthy. As we have reported, three school board members (Susan Moore, Cathy Peduzzi and Mel Brodsky) objected to the process of how issuing the RFP was handled and voted against it. Board members were provided less than 12 hours to submit questions to be considered for the RFP. The superintendent was provided one work day to generate the RFP.

As we have shown above, numerous school districts post their RFP for legal services online for everyone to see. We asked the Colonial School District how law firms were notified of the opportunity. The response was:

The notice that the District was seeking proposal was posted on our website. We also reached out to the top solicitors in the county. There are five firms serving 20 of the county’s school district’s (sic). All five were contacted and encouraged to submit proposals. All did so. All are being interviewed.

This isn’t how the Colonial School District always handles procurement of services. Below is an example of how the district sought to purchase a vehicle, plus three bidding opportunities for construction jobs. These were published on a website that anyone can view. Note that the denial letter states procurement of “construction” is one of the situations where they can deny providing a document. Apparently the one for solicitor deserves special treatment.

Another reason we hoped to publish the RFP was to provide the public the opportunity to review it and be able to comment on it during the next public meeting on January 4th. Since the school district won’t release the RFP until after a selection is made, it leaves the public at a disadvantage.

Tell us what you think in the comments.