A group of Jefferson citizens has successfully raised $1,600 through a GoFundMe effort to pay for an Open Records request from the Jefferson City School System.
The group, organized by Jefferson resident Dana Phillips, wants copies of all emails in the system related to plans by the system to reopen in-person classes amid the COVID pandemic.
"Our whole goal is to continue to push for transparency and open communication regarding the public health issue our community is facing," said a post on the GoFundMe site. "We are also considering filing more Open Records Requests in the future."
The fundraiser was organized Aug. 12 after the system said it had around 4,000 emails related to the request and that it would cost $1,600 to retrieve the emails and make them available under the Georgia Open Records Act.
"In a time when so much is in flux it is important to over communicate and be transparent," the fundraiser said. "We have filed an Open Records Request that includes information about Edgenuity, Georgia Virtual School, and face to face instruction. We have been informed by the School Board and their Attorney that it will cost $1,600 to release a digital file of all emails from School Board Members, Superintendent, Former Superintendent, and Principals regarding reopening plans."
The Jefferson City School System was one of the first in the country to reopen with in-person classes. The early July 31 opening made national news as other communities began making their own plans for the school year.
Jefferson students also have the option to participate in on-line classes from home. Around 6% of Jefferson students, 200 or so, have chosen that option according to school officials.
Some area systems have opened with only remote learning classes while others are waiting until September to reopen the school year.