Women billed for records request | AspenTimes.com

Women billed for records request

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Two local residents looking to replace Aspen School District Superintendent Tom Farrell have spent a little over $2,000 in their quest.

Aspen residents Carrie Morgridge and Laurie Michaels were recently presented with a bill for $2,126, the cost of fulfilling a document request the women made in late April. Citing the Colorado Open Records Act, the women requested 15 items they said would help them study Farrell’s performance in his 14 years with the district.

The women have been vocal opponents of Farrell since February, when they attended a crowded meeting of the Aspen School Board to question the superintendent’s management style. Though they have not stated which of Farrell’s policies they particularly oppose, they have said they will thoroughly examine a hefty pile of district documents in order to review his record.

The documents listed in the April request include formal superintendent evaluations by the district, employment contracts and minutes of school board meetings. The request also includes three years’ worth of correspondence between district administrators and school board members. Vicki Johnson, Farrell’s administrative assistant, said she and the district’s technology director spent between 16 and 20 hours filling the request.

District personnel also kept track of their photocopying activities. Johnson said her office made 839 copies of the requested records for Morgridge and Michaels.

The school district charged the women $1.25 per copy, Johnson said.

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“The attorneys assume that’s wear and tear on copiers – it’s not just about the piece of paper,” she said of the price.

The bill includes additional miscellaneous costs, Johnson said. For example, the women were charged $50 for a copy of a CD used to store minutes of school board meetings.

Now that this first document request has been fulfilled, the district will focus on a second request made by Morgridge and Michaels last week. The list of seven items focuses on the district’s financial dealings. They asked for things such as five years’ worth of records of payments made to school board members and loans made to district officials and administrators. Also requested is a list of all expenditures regarding the $40.9 million bond issue approved by Pitkin County voters in November 2000 to help the district build an addition to its high school.

The district’s business office is currently handling the pair’s second document request, Johnson said, since the request deals mainly with financial information. Joe Tarbet, the district’s finance director, said his office is still processing the request and has not estimated when the information will be released.