Reeds Spring Counters Sunshine Request with $2,000 Fee

REEDS SPRING, Mo -- $2,000 is the price 1 man was asked to pay to receive public records from the Reeds Spring School District.

Rick Stebbins filed a Sunshine Law Request for public information to the district back on June 6 after Reeds Spring shelled out $500,000 in a settlement against their superintendent, Michael Mason for sexual harassment claims.

The Sunshine Law allows the public to gain access to information or records, not readily accessible: such as business expenses or court documents. While there is often a cost associated with running these reports, Rick Stebbins claims that $2,000 is a joke.

Rick Stebbins rifled through his notes in front of the Reeds Spring School District Board of Governors on Wednesday night.

Superintendent, Michael Mason, sat stoic behind his tablet.

“A man who sexually assaults women, cannot be allowed to be in control over women and children," said Rick Stebbins. 

The Board of Governors voted to keep Mr. Mason as their superintendent in March 2017. An online petition for Mr. Mason's resignation began in April, gaining over 600 signatures.

Mr. Stebbins, was kicked out of last month’s meeting, and returned tonight.

Rick Stebbins filed a Sunshine Law request at the beginning of June asking the Reeds Spring School District to provide any and all ledger reports dating back until 2006.

3 days later, the school district acknowledged that request, stating that it was going to take 4-6 weeks to collect the documents. The emailed response also noted that Rick, the tax payer, was responsible for $2,000.

Rachelle Meats, the Custodian of Records as well as the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Michael Mason, factored in 10 cents per page of the report, and $21.30 per hour for the labor of actually compiling it.

Under a conservative estimate, that means close to 90 hours of labor.

In a written statement from the Reeds Spring School District, they said that “the districts attorney advised that we charge for this sunshine request  based on nature of the request”

It’s important to note that the settlement against the school district and Michael mason note sexual harassment, not sexual assault.

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