Attorney general requests Wauconda District 118 documents over $22,500 payout to family

District 118 gave $22,500 to family

  • Wauconda Unit School District 118 trustees approved a $22,500 payment to a student's family but won't say why -- and the copy of the agreement sent to the Daily Herald was heavily redacted.

      Wauconda Unit School District 118 trustees approved a $22,500 payment to a student's family but won't say why -- and the copy of the agreement sent to the Daily Herald was heavily redacted. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/24/2019 8:27 PM

The Illinois attorney general's office is reviewing a request by the Daily Herald to compel Wauconda Unit District 118 officials to reveal more information about a mysterious $22,500 payout to an unidentified student's family.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul's public access bureau, which handles disputes concerning requests for public records, is looking into the case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Last week, bureau supervising attorney Christopher R. Boggs wrote to the district and requested an unredacted copy of the agreement to pay the student's family. The Daily Herald received a heavily redacted copy after a Freedom of Information Act request.

Boggs also requested copies of other documents requested by the Daily Herald that weren't delivered by the school district. They include a copy of the minutes from the meeting at which the settlement was approved and any other reports or emails concerning the case or the settlement.

District 118 officials have seven business days from their receipt of Boggs' letter to comply with the request.

District 118 administrators or board members won't say why they approved payments to a student's family at a special meeting May 2.

They also won't say why they agreed to provide training to Wauconda High School staff members on professionalism concerning communications with and about an undisclosed subject as part of the settlement.

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When District 118 electronically sent the Daily Herald a copy of the eight-page settlement agreement, sections identifying the student, the student's parent, the nature of the parent's complaint and many other details were blacked out.

Julia Nadler, the district's assistant superintendent of special services and its Freedom of Information Act officer, was tasked with responding to the Daily Herald's request. In a letter accompanying the document, she said the agreement was redacted to protect personal information, student records and "unique identifiers."

Nadler and other District 118 officials refused to answer subsequent questions about the case and the settlement.

In addition to requesting the specified documents, Boggs requested Nadler provide a detailed, written explanation for the denials of the Daily Herald's request for records, including how the settlement agreement is a school student record that's exempt from public review.

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