An Horry County charter school's board chairman declined to give the school's financial records to a parent, though the records are open to the public, according to state law.
Gail Baillargeon, parent of a fourth-grader at Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success charter school last year, said she was denied an opportunity to review the school's books when she requested a meeting with school financial officials to do so.
Bill Sammons, chairman of the school's board of directors, told Baillargeon in a letter that day-to-day financials of the school are not available for public review...
Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association, said the school's records are public.
Baillargeon said she twice requested in writing a time to meet with the school's financial committee to review financial records. The request was made at the school's Jan. 18 board meeting, as well as in an email sent to the board on the same day, according to copies she sent The Sun News.
She said in a telephone interview that she asked for a meeting because of concerns she had with financial management of the school.
Courtney Fancher, the school's principal and executive director, said she could not respond to an individual Freedom of Information Act request.
Baillargeon received a letter dated Jan. 26 from Sammons. In it, he said, "The day-to-day financials of Palmetto Academy are not available for public review; therefore, you will not be able to schedule a meeting with the Finance Committee to 'review the books' as you requested. One way that you may stay up-to-date on the PALS' financial happenings is by routinely attending Board meetings. Additionally, you may be reassured to learn that PALS uses an independent financial consulting firm, Kelley-Moser Consulting, for the management of all of the school's finances."
Rogers said the letter is "completely wrong." He said the school is a public entity and the financial records are open to the public.
Rogers said a written request to receive financial information does not have to say it is a FOIA request to be valid...
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Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success
“Horry County charter school board chairman turned down parent's records request.” The Sun News (SC), 6/11/2011