Actions of Duluth school board members now subject to data requests by the public

By KBJR News 1

July 15, 2014 Updated Jul 15, 2014 at 9:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The actions of Duluth School Board members are now subject to data requests from the public, after a vote by the board Tuesday night.

The board unanimously passed the resolution .

Board members say the public interest in transparency outweighs any competing privacy interest that individual board members may have.

They say the current investigation into one of their own prompted the policy change.

School board members are not technically employees of the school district.

Therefore the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Department of Administration do not need to hold classified data, under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, or "MGDPA."

Meanwhile, the investigation of board member Art Johnston continues to move forward.

Johnston has been accused of assault and making racist remarks, the details of which can now be requested by the public, following Tuesday's vote.

"This will in fact yield to and yield to a full accounting of the, of the allegations that have been made against this employee because I think the public deserves to know what has been discussed in private rather than to let that little cloud to remain," said board member Harry Welty.

Data requests do not include protected data on elected officials in the policy, such as social security numbers, health data, or medical data, which are not subject to disclosure.

The public can request information from the past and present.

Elsa Robins