This is what the district told me:
Your request has required extensive clerical support, supervisory assistance or extensive use of information technology resources and/or costs to copy the requested documents. To produce the request, it will require 30 hours to create, collect or redact these records at a base hourly rate of $17.60.
Please note that we are estimating the number of hours to research and create the requested report. If you wish us to proceed forward at this time with the current information we have gathered, a payment of $528.00 is required in advance of commencing work; therefore, please remit your check payable to:
They also pointed out that charging me was perfectly legal. Pursuant to Florida Statute 119.07(4)(d), the District, as custodian of the records, may charge fees to cover any extensive clerical support, supervisory assistance, extensive use of information technology resources and/or costs to copy the requested documents.
I get it in a way too. We don't want the district to have to go on time consuming fishing expeditions or be forced to research minutia.
That being said, I thought I asked a legitimate question that the city deserves to know the answer to.
I will also say the district is usually fairly good with answering my initial question but often initial questions lead to follow up questions and its there where I am stopped in my tracks.
It makes me wonder how many stories are out there right now that we will never hear about that the district has insulated or protected itself from by charging a fee and a steep fee at that?
The statute says they can charge, it doesn't mean that they have to.
If the media and no I don't include myself in that category or ordinary citizens have to pay to have questions answered then transparency is destroyed and our schools cease to be truly public.