Douglas County School District faces new open records lawsuit

Legal filing seeks to force release of documents used in retreat

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The Douglas County School District is being sued again over alleged violations of the Colorado Open Records Act for not releasing copies of documents school board members used in a retreat.

Highlands Ranch resident and Colorado state House candidate Robert Marshall filed a complaint that the school district’s records custodian, Ioana Marin, has not made binders from a fall 2021 board retreat available for inspection. Marshall’s complaint says Marin denied Marshall’s request for inspection, saying the binders are not public records because the board members were not public officials at the time they received the binders.

The Douglas County School District didn't have a comment on the lawsuit.

Marshall is represented by Colorado attorney Steve Zansberg, who also serves as the board president for the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.

Zansberg argues the binders are public documents because the board members who received the binders — Becky Myers, Mike Peterson, Christy Williams and Kaylee Winegar — still have possession of them and have referenced them in board meetings.

A show cause hearing, during which Marin will have to make her case for why the records are not public and can’t be provided by the school district, has been scheduled for June 24 in Douglas County District Court.

Zansberg has asked the judge to determine after the hearing that the binders are public record and force the district to disclose them. Additionally, Zansberg is asking the judge to award Marshall court and attorney costs if the records are determined to be public.

Marshall previously sued the school district over accusations of board directors using one-on-one meetings to plan the firing of former Superintendent Corey Wise, which Marshall argued skirted Colorado open meetings law that requires public decisions be made in public meetings. 

That case is ongoing since the district appealed a judge's preliminary injunction, which ordered board members to forgo future one-on-one meetings on board business.

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