Right-to Know Law in state: what it is and how to use it

The New Castle News has filed a Right to Know request with the Wilmington Area School District after the district refused to release the names of two employees.

During the district’s virtual school board meeting on Tuesday, two action items — an extended leave of absence for “employee 524” and the resignation of “employee 313” — were unanimously approved.

When prompted in the virtual chat room for the employees names, Josh Latore, business manager, referred comments to solicitor Michael Bonner.

According to Bonner, he advised the district two years ago to withhold names of employees for “confidentiality” reasons.

Bonner did not reference any case law that states names of district employees must be withheld from the public but rather “recommendations” from the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

However, some other school districts in the county routinely release the names of employees requesting leave of absences and to resign.

The Right to Know request seeks the name and title of both employee 524 and 313 as well as a “settlement agreement and release” with employee 313.

The leave of absence was extended to April 5, 2021 and the resignation would go into effect Thursday.

Also included was a request for the employment status of Jonathan Priano.

Priano was arrested in early June on two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, nine counts of institutional sexual assault, 12 counts of corruption of minors and two counts of endangering the welfare of children.

Neither the district nor Superintendent Jeffrey Matty have spoken publicly about his employment status or whether he was on paid or unpaid leave.

According to the law, Latore, who serves as the district’s Right to Know officer, will have five days to respond with the documentation.

A 30-day extension may be instituted. If there is no communication from the district after the five-day period, the request will be deemed denied.

mbasileo@ncnewsonline.com

Reporter

Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

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