By Bleah B. Patterson
The Alamo Community College District Faculty Legal Association, an organization representing faculty members in legal matters, had an attorney file an open records request March 4, for all correspondence, meeting notes or minutes, and financial or creative agreements between the district, FranklinCovey Co. and Pearson Publishing.
Math Professor Gerald Busald, president of the legal association, said members are disturbed that FranklinCovey Co. contracts were drawn before the EDUC 1300, Learning Framework, course, was approved to replace one humanities requirement in the core curriculum and was brought to faculty’s attention.
“We’ve probably requested information similar to what The Ranger has already, but we’ve also requested correspondence so we can see their intention,” Busald said.
The Ranger Online published a copy of on addendum between FranklinCovey and the district on March 6. It is available at theranger.org.
“What are they spending it on? What agreements have been made? Have they already agreed to partner with Covey to create a book that they will then charge students $100 a pop for? Those are the questions we’re trying to get answers to.”
Busald said the district started a contract with FranklinCovey before EDUC 1300, Learning Framework, was discussed, so faculty involvement would not be relevant.
“The commitment has already been made to Covey,” he said.
Jefferson Brim III, partner at Brim, Arnett, Robinett and Conners P.C., an Austin law firm, wrote the letter and sent it to Nancy Kempf, district coordinator of publications.
“Each agency upon any request for records … shall determine within 10 days after the receipt of any such request whether to comply with such request and shall immediately notify the person making such request of such determination,” the Texas Public Information Act prescribes.
“However, in this case spring break does not count in those 10 days. So they’re not being untimely just yet,” Brim said Wednesday.
Brim has been contacted by ACCD’s attorney, someone he has worked with in the past, and has been asked to clarify the request.
“Since I’ve worked with him before, I trust that he’s just being efficient,” Brim said. “He has also made it clear through everything they’ve said to me that they want to get this done in a timely manner.”
Brim said there is no reason the requested information shouldn’t fall under the Open Records Act, “though I’m sure they’ll attempt to reserve the right to confidentiality,” he said.
Busald is leery of the Learning Framework course. “It’s hard to see the advantage of every person going through Covey. Right now they’re in the process of teaching me how to be a good teacher,” he said with a laugh.
Busald received a statewide Piper Professor Award in 2011.
“Mayor Castro is apparently all for this, but what I want to know is if he would be willing to pay for city employees to take it the way we’ve been forced to? Someone should ask him that. Politics would stop him in his tracks and he would be defeated,” Busald said.
“We don’t have any politics here. The chancellor is in charge of the board, so we don’t even have an effective board.” A board is what happens when people are allowed to disagree, he said.
“As long as we have a unanimous vote every time, 8-1 at worst, we will never have an effective board,” he said.
“I’m sure I’m not popular with the district, but I’m willing to live with that. Someone needs to stand up,” he said.