In a 2014 press release, Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Mike Matsuda assailed charter schools, alleging “many operate in the shadows with no transparency, no accountability, and no public review.” In a 2015 memo to the public regarding Measure H school bond oversight, Matsuda pledged “Transparency, oversight, communication-and gratitude-are expectations you can hold us to as Measure H work progresses.”
Matsuda’s claim that charter schools lack transparency is an odd one considering the repeated refusal of his district to comply with or even acknowledge numerous public information requests from OC Daily. In fact, Matsuda was one of the recipients of nearly every public information request.
The first public records request was submitted on Mary 13 to AUHSD Public Information Officer Patricia Karlak, asking for “any and all e-mails, documents, communications provided to Gabriel San Roman since January 1, 2016.” The intent was obtaining the same information provided to San Roman regarding the district’s public screening of an anti-charter school documentary.
The PRA also requested for “any and all e-mails and communications dating from May 1 and inclusive of May 13, from Al Jabbar, Mike Matsuda, Patricia Karlak and any other AUHSD employee to Dr. Jose F. Moreno, Ryan Ruelas, Tom Tait, Mark S. Hall, Robert Amsterdam, John Martin and any employee of Amsterdam & Partners LLP.”
The district never acknowledged receiving the PRA and the requested information has never been provided.
On October 14, OC Daily submitted several questions to the district regarding a $20,000 the AnaheimBROS student political club had announced receiving from the California Teachers Association. The school district never acknowledged or responded to the information request.
On October 26, OC Daily e-mailed Matsuda several questions regarding the use of AUHSD resources to transport AnaheimBROS and CROWN student political club members to an October 24 Anaheim City Council candidate forum – where they acted as cheerleaders for candidate Jose F. Moreno. Karlak and AnaheimBROS faculty adviser Ryan Ruelas were cc’d on the information request. The school district never acknowledged or responded to the information request.
On November 2, OC Daily re-submitted to the district the questions about the use of AUHSD resources to transport Moreno’s student supporters to the candidate forum. The e-mail also asked “Why has the AUHSD been refusing to respond to my press inquiries”? Once again, the district never acknowledged or responded to the information request.
Also on November 2, OC Daily re-submitted the October 14 information request regarding the CTA’s $20,000 grant to AnaheimBROS. And again, the district refused to respond to the request, or even acknowledge receiving it.
At that point, it was becoming clear the Anaheim Union High School District was deliberately stonewalling public information requests from OC Daily.
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