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Patch's Right-to-Know Request Denied for PR Soccer Investigation Reports

Patch plans to appeal ruling.

Pine-Richland Patch's Right-to-Know request to see investigation reports about Pine-Richland's soccer program and its coach, Jodi Chmielewski, has been denied.

Pine-Richland Patch plans to appeal the decision by the school district's Right-To-Know officer to withhold the reports.

Patch asked for the reports after the Pine-Richland School Board meeting Aug. 13 in which the board voted 5-2 to retain Chmielewski as its soccer coach. Supporters and opponents of the coach filled the school board's meeting room at that meeting to voice concerns about the coach and soccer program.

References to the investigations were made during that meeting.

The soccer program and coach have been a topic of discussion for some time. Parents and players had complained about Chmielewski's coaching in the past, while others had defended her.

A similar Right-to-Know request submitted by , also has been denied.

Open Records Officer Kim Kurz explained the denial of the request as follows in a letter to Pine-Richland Patch:

Your request is denied for the following reasons:

The requested record(s) constitute attorney/client privileged communications. As such it is not presumed to be a public record, consistent with Section 305 of the RTKL (Right-to-Know Law).

The requested record(s) relate to a noncriminal investigation. Such records are exempted from disclosure pursuant to Section 708(b)(17). This exception includes within its scope complaints submitted to the agency; investigative materials, notes, correspondence and reports; records that include information made confidential by law.

The requested record(s) relate to the internal pre-decisional deliberations of the agency, its elected officials, agents and employees. See Section 708(b)(10)(i)(A).

The requested record(s) relate to a communication between a local agency and its insurance carrier, administrative service organization or risk management office. See Section 708(b)(27). 

Click here to connect to the Right-to-Know law that is referenced in the denial letter.

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Cindy Reynolds October 06, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Hey "Set the Record Straight", Kiki, and Bob, when given the chance Bucci and her administrators have denied numerous requests to release the "independent" report on the investigation of Jodi Chmielewski conducted by Mr. Smart and paid for by taxpayers? You have asked for facts to back up allegations in this forum but have you filed a Right to Know request? We have asked for an explanation as to why this administration and school board made the decision to support keeping Altemus and Chmielewski as coaches. But we have been denied. We have requested a meeting with the new AD Joshua Shoop but Bucci will not permit him to meet with us. If you are honestly concerned about the district and its students how can you continue to support the suppression of information? How can you make an informed opinion without the facts? How can you criticize without the facts? BTW, still waiting for "Set the Record Straight" to stop hiding. Don't hold your breath!!
Fred Freitag October 06, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I believe we, the PRSD community, have an absolute "right to know" what's in that independent investigation. Just what does it say?. If the PRSD board had any "guts", nothing to hide, wanted transparency in the community, and are desirous of future community support - they would just turn the independent investigation over for review by the community regardless of the legalities of the issue. Maybe the new board members, given their disconnection and having nothing to do with the entire situation, will have the "brass" to mandate the report be revealed. It would appear to me that the independent investigation was nothing more than a "sham" or a "token gesture" to give the apparent perception that they wanted to know the actual and historical facts and were going to evaluate the issue when in reality it was nothing but a maneuver to CYA for the board, Dr. Bucci, the past AD, and the soccer coach. It's pathetic! Here's hoping the Patch and Reynolds are successful in their efforts to reveal just what that independent report says AND doesn't say - who knew what and when did they know it and if they didn't know it - why didn't they know it! I, for one, applaud their continued efforts to "bring to light" and show what's wrong with the system! It would make for interesting reading that's for certain.

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