Two Fort Worth, Texas, moms were charged more than $1,200 to see the public school district’s K-12 curriculum book lists, and now one mom has filed a complaint.
On August 8, Kristina Denapolis, whose daughter is in 8th grade, filed a public records request with the Fort Worth Independent School District for copies of the book lists for kindergarten through 12th grade.
She was told the request would cost an eye-popping $1,267.50 to fill.
Another Fort Worth mom, Jenny Crossland, was trying to decide where to send her daughter to kindergarten and filed the same public records request for K-12 book lists. She was given the same answer — the request would cost $1,267.50 and take 84.5 hours of labor.
On Thursday, Denapolis, who is an attorney, filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s office, asking that it investigate the charge, which she said is “not reasonable,” and order the district to reduce it.
Denapolis’ daughter attended Fort Worth ISD last year. Over the summer though, her mother decided to pull her out and enroll her in a private Christian school for the upcoming school year. That decision was the result of long-term frustration with the district’s bureaucracy, lack of transparency, and inflated spending of taxpayer money, she said.
The mom was also upset about a “resilience questionnaire” she says a counselor gave students that asked the children whether they thought their mother and father loved them when they were little. When she filed a public records request for that questionnaire, she was not charged, she said.
Denapolis said her first reaction was surprise when she was given the high price for the book lists, and she wondered why the district did not have a working list already compiled that could be easily sent out at no cost to parents who inquired.
“This information should be readily and publicly available,” she told The Daily Wire, adding that she is “extremely disappointed” that the district expects parents to pay such a high price for the records.
“I have strong feelings concerning the need for absolute transparency from our public education system – especially when it comes to what children are reading and learning about in taxpayer-funded schools,” Denapolis said.
“I am not the only parent who has requested to know what books the children are expected to read in FWISD, and it’s outrageous that such a simple request comes with such a lofty price,” she added.
Fort Worth ISD said the district had received Denapolis’ complaint.
“The District received the requestor’s email to the Attorney General, and it is currently under review. The District will respond to any inquiry made by the Attorney General concerning this matter in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act,” the district said in a statement to The Daily Wire.
This district is not the first to charge parents excessive prices for public records that would be prohibitive to many families.
A Rhode Island mom was told by South Kingstown School District that the public records she requested on the curriculum would cost $74,000. She was sued by the nation’s largest public-sector teachers union, the National Education Association.
When that mom called her kindergarten daughter’s school and asked about the curriculum, the school told her “they don’t call children ‘boys’ and ‘girls’” and that officials “embed the values of gender identity into the classroom at every grade at an age-appropriate level,” she said.