Family launches fundraiser to pay for public records access

From the Associated Press/Idaho State Journal

An eastern Idaho family has launched an online fundraising effort to help cover the estimated $1,235 cost to get public records about the Idaho State University president’s residence.

ISU emailed the bill to Eric and Rhonda D’Amico and their son, Sam D’Amico, after the family submitted a public-records request for documents detailing how much the school spends on maintenance and improvements at the Servel House, which is used as a residence for ISU President Arthur Vailas.

The Idaho State Journal (http://bit.ly/1zNjVXu) reported Monday that the D’Amico family launched a fundraising effort on the crowd-sourcing website Gofundme.com to help pay for the bill. The money will cover the expense of having an ISU staffer collect the documents and other related costs.

Last year, university officials were preparing to ask the State Board of Education to approve a $600,000 expenditure to purchase a new president’s home to replace the Servel House. In November, university officials said the new house would save the school about $195,000 in maintenance costs during the next 10 years and eliminate the need for about $750,000 in needed renovations.

University leaders later dropped the proposal for a new house, however, after hearing negative feedback from the community.

The D’Amicos asked for receipts, work orders and estimates for repairs at Servel House to back up those estimates.

“You would think the university would have collected that information before going to the state board,” Eric D’Amico said.

ISU Vice President for Advancement Kent Tingey said the university sent adequate information for the new house proposal to the State Board. The D’Amicos wanted documentation dating back several years, Tingey said, and the school doesn’t have that information readily available.

Idaho’s public records law allows public entities to recoup some of the costs associated with filling public records requests, although the first 100 pages and first two hours of labor are free.

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Information from: Idaho State Journal, http://www.journalnet.com

From the Associated Press/Idaho State Journal

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