MSPRA, FOIA, MASB… and OMG! – SCN Encourager

There’s nothing like a little “FYI” time in charming Petoskey.

Especially with a state mandated July 1 deadline looming.

But thanks to Gerri Allen, the Executive Director of the Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA) and Dianne Litzenburger of the Char-Em ISD, the pent-up anxiety felt by many school communicators due to Michigan’s new Freedom of Information Act “website posting” requirements was reduced considerably.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 9.50.54 PMMSPRA’s summer drive-in conference on June 25 reviewed the ins an outs of the FOIA mandate from A to Z with attorneys Brad Banasik from MASB and Jennifer Johnston from Thrun Law guiding the way.

If you haven’t been following what the state is now requiring school districts to post pertaining to FOIA, probably the best (and briefest!) help I can offer is this link to my own district’s website, Holland Public Schools. 

You’ll see the basics of what the state is requiring.

At least it will give you an idea of the puzzle pieces you’ll need to pull together if you haven’t done this already.

You can also be assured of the link’s accuracy – since I had nothing to do with it.

It was posted to the website by our Human Resources office more than 10 days ago.

(And yep! I’m still breathing a big sigh of relief!)

The MSPRA conference agenda was a full one.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 11.03.33 PMDr. Nancy Colflesh was on the agenda to speak after lunch about “Communicating across Generations.”

I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but a powerpoint slide projected by the attorneys during the FOIA presentation unintentionally aided Dr. Colflesh’s cause.

The slide displayed a list of all the “written” items subject to FOIA.

It listed (per the law MCL 15.232 h): “…handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, and every other means of recording and includes letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films or prints, microfilm, microfiche, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, or other means of recording or retaining meaningful content.”

Being the quick wit that I am, I turned toward the “younger” school communicator sitting next to me and whispered, “What’s a drum?”  (haha)

“I don’t know,” she replied. “What are microfiche and punch cards? Do you know? There’s a lot of stuff on that slide that I’ve never heard of.”

“Uh, forget it,” I grumbled.

So much for cross-generational chit-chat.








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