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Decision No. 13,596

Appeal of WALTER F. GREENING from action of Susan Reichardt, Records Access Officer, and Beverly Ouderkirk, Superintendent of the Valley Central School District, regarding access to district records.

Decision No. 13,596

(April 24, 1996)

Anderson, Banks, Curran & Donoghue, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Daniel Petigrow, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner seeks access to certain records alleged to be in the possession of the Valley Central School District ("district"). The appeal must be dismissed.

By letter dated December 29, 1995, petitioner made nine separate requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL"). By letter dated January 11, 1996, Susan Reichardt, the district's records access officer, advised petitioner that the district did not have any records regarding his first request. Ms. Reichardt further stated that she needed to do additional research to respond to petitioner's other requests.

By letter dated February 2, 1996, Ms. Reichardt advised petitioner what records were available under FOIL. She further advised petitioner that he should schedule an appointment to review them. Petitioner made an appointment for February 16, 1996, and was afforded the opportunity to review certain records.

Petitioner maintains that respondents failed to provide all the information requested in his December 29, 1995 letter. Petitioner argues that respondents failed to comply with Education Law '2116 and asks that I order the district to produce the requested information. Respondents maintain that petitioner made his request under FOIL and contend that I lack jurisdiction over FOIL disputes. Furthermore, respondents contend that this appeal is moot since respondents provided petitioner the opportunity to review certain records.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York is the appropriate forum for addressing a violation of the Freedom of Information Law (Public Officers Law '89[4]; Appeal of Goldman, 35 Ed Dept Rep 126; Appeal of Stewart, 34 id. 193; Appeal of Mitzner, 32 id. 101). Although petitioner alleges that he made his requests under Education Law '2116 rather than FOIL, it is apparent from the evidence in the record that petitioner made his requests under FOIL. Accordingly, I have no jurisdiction over petitioner's claims (Appeal of Goldman, supra; Application of Elentuck, 26 Ed Dept Rep 503).

In light of this disposition, I will not address the parties' remaining contentions.