State Office of Open Records rules in favor of Borland again

Kim Borland

Attorney Kimberly Borland gained two more victories from the state’s Office of Open Records in his quest for plans related to Wilkes-Barre Area School District construction project. But Borland said the rulings are almost moot because they came after a more comprehensive ruling on the same matter.

Borland had initially requested extensive detailed plans for both the Mackin building renovation and the proposed new high school to be built where Coughlin High School is now.

The district denied those requests, contending releasing the plans would put students and faculty at risk of attack and that the plans were proprietary. Borland appealed and the OOR ruled in his favor.

But Borland had filed two other requests related to the plans. One was “pared down” request to the district for some — but not all — of the documents originally requested. The district rejected that request as well.

The other request was to the city of Wilkes-Barre, to see applications for permits, and any permits issued, related to the district renovations of Mackin. The city provided two pages of documents.

Borland appealed both actions with the OOR, claiming the city’s response was incomplete.

On Wednesday Borland provided copies of OOR “final determinations” on both those appeals. Regarding the second request to the district, the OOR ruled in Borland’s favor, again deciding the district failed to prove its contention that releasing plans would present a clear risk to anyone.

Regarding Borland’s request for documents from the city, the OOR noted that, as the appeal unfolded, the city released an additional 239 pages, but declined to release building plans, citing the district’s concerns.

The district was then allowed to participate in the proceedings and made arguments mirroring those it had made against Borland’s first request. The OOR again ruled in Borland’s favor.

Borland welcomed the additional rulings, but noted they were largely irrelevant because the OOR had already ruled the district must turn over all the plans requested in the earlier case.

The request to the city was essentially an alternate way to get the same documents the OOR had already said must be released, while the second request to the school district had sought less information than the OOR had already ruled must be released.

District Solicitor Ray Wendolowski has promised to appeal the OOR determination in Luzerne County Court, but also said he and Borland have been in discussions seeking a compromise.

Kim Borland Borland

By Mark Guydish

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Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

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