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SF Board Members Say Contract Is Personnel File

September 23, 2011, 5:42 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SF Board Members Say Contract Is Personnel File
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Members of the Sioux Falls School Board say that Superintendent Pam Homan is following the law when it comes to handing out her contract.

State law specifically says personnel information, other than the salary, isn't a public record.

School board members say the Superintendent's contract is kept in her personnel file and that's why it's not being released.

"As president of the school board it is my job, I believe, to be in compliance with the law, and I believe what the school district has decided is in compliance with the law," Sioux Falls School Board President Kent Alberty said.

That's because when the South Dakota open records law was changed in 2009 it said that all public records are open unless specifically closed.

One of the items on the list of closed documents is; "personnel information other than salaries and routine directory information."

"We don't release personnel files, and the contract is kept in Dr. Homan's personnel file, so I guess I have to believe the school district is in compliance," Alberty said.

"It's a part of her personnel file. It's a personal contract, so it's in here individual personnel file," Sioux Falls School Board Member Darin Daby said.

State lawmakers have said the spirit of the open records law that's in place right now is to make sure things like public contracts were open to the public. They say if that's not the case right now they're wiling to go back in and change the law in the next legislative session.

"What the spirit of the law is I can't say. I'm not a legislator. I'm not the governor," Alberty said.

But, school board members say they would support a change in the law to make sure public contracts, like Homan's, are made public in the future.

"I certainly would not stand and argue against a change to the law to make a contract like this public," Daby said.

"Do I believe that we are following the law as a school district? Yes. Do I believe that the law could be changed to make those documents more public? I think that would be just great," Alberty said.

Because the way the law is written right now the Sioux Falls School District says it's up to Homan to decide if she wants to release it.

Alberty says before the law was changed in 2009 Homan did release her contract to the public.

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