Following several ignored Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests for teacher and superintendent contracts, the Government Justice Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Empire Center for Public Policy against Malverne Union Free School District in Nassau County on Long Island.
The Empire Center, mainly through its SeeThroughNY.net database, works to give New Yorkers a clearer view of how their tax dollars are spent, including by providing access to collective bargaining agreements between local governments and their unionized employees.
Over the course of more than four months, Malverne School District continually ignored requests and appeals by the Empire Center for these public records. This repeated a pattern of failure to comply with FOIL requests established since the beginning of 2016 and earlier. During the two years prior to the lawsuit, Malverne School District failed to respond to four separate FOIL requests by the Empire Center.
Within days of the lawsuit being filed Malverne School District disclosed the contracts the Empire Center had requested.
In a consequential win for government transparency, the New York State Supreme Court has ordered the school district to comply with the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), following years of evasion. In addition to providing its teacher and superintendent contracts, Malverne School District has reimbursed the Empire Center for Public Policy’s legal expenses.