HCPSS MPIA Request #2020-245

Requested Information
I would like all emails sent or received by Jen Mallo, Sabina Taj, Kirsten Coombs, and/or Mavis Ellis, other than those protected by attorney client privilege, in which the alleged Open Meetings Act violation from November 21, 2019 was discussed.
Date Received
Responsive Documents
Responsive to this request, please find attached discussions from the requested Board members about the alleged Open Meetings Act violation between November 21, 2019 through the date of this request. Under MPIA GP § 4-330, we have redacted sociological information where it contains personal phone numbers, addresses or has the potential to pose a risk to individual safety or privacy. Under MPIA GP § 4-311, which prevents disclosure of personnel records of an individual, employee identification numbers have been redacted. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which restricts access to student records, and MPIA GP § 4-313, which prevents disclosure of school district records pertaining to individual students, we have redacted information that could reveal individual student information from the responsive records. We have also withheld one attachment entitled 12102019 Closed Minutes for Approval as such minutes are confidential pursuant to the Maryland Open Meetings Act (OMA) GP § 3-501 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

As, by the nature of your request, the responsive emails are related to an alleged Open Meetings Act violation, communications redacted include confidential discussions between Board members and legal counsel created for the purpose of securing legal advice and services, as well as in preparation for anticipated litigation. Redactions made constitute attorney-client communications/work product, and thus are subject to non-disclosure under both MPIA GP §4-301(1), which requires a custodian to deny inspection of a record if by law the record is privileged or confidential, and MPIA GP § 4-344, which allows a custodian to deny inspection of confidential opinions, deliberations, advice or recommendations from one governmental employee or official to another for the purpose of assisting the latter in the decision-making function. Specific to notes made by a Board member concerning the recess taken during the November 21, 2019 meeting and included as an attachment to a responsive email here, the Board of Education voted to waive the privilege for the notes themselves as indicated under our response to MPIA 2020-260. 259.55

*Some request language is summarized to include the requester's specific document requests and legally protected information (such as personally identifiable information of a student) or personal, defamatory and malicious content removed at the discretion of the school system.

**Responses containing legally protected information available only to the person of interest are omitted from the above report.

***Howard County Public Schools reserves the right to remove erroneous or outdated documents from this site.