Help me put some teeth in FOIA!

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Help me put some teeth in FOIA!

From Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay

Haas Hall Academy has hired Rose Law Firm (yes, "the legal arm of the powerful") to avoid dealing with my FOIA requests. I haved filed a lawsuit "pro se," but I really need a lawyer. Help me pay some legal fees?

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Update #3

over 3 years ago

A huge THANK YOU to all my current supporters! Without you, I wouldn't have been able to pay the $600 I spent on photocopies at Staples in preparation for the State Board of Education meeting on Valentine's Day.

Just in case you didn't hear, the State Board REJECTED Haas Hall's "Diversity and Partnership" report that day. They asked some tough questions -- including asking for the name of the Diversity Outreach Coordinator that the superintendent had testified, in 2016, was IN PLACE at the Springdale campus. After the headmasters acted befuddled, Haas Hall's attorney (Mark Henry, from the Rose Law Firm) stepped up to provide a name to the State Board: Caroline Proctor.

Caroline Proctor has had her hand in Dreamland Academy (convicted for fraud,) eStem charter schools, and several other Arkansas charters. If I hadn't already FOIA-requested her personnel file from Haas Hall (and brought all my FOIA docs with me to the State Board of Ed meeting) I wouldn't have been able to immediately inform the Board that Haas Hall had "laid off" Caroline Proctor for "lack of work," and that her claim for unemployment had been approved.

Boom! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN6GV37VmMI

Couldn't do it with you guys. Thanks for your support!

Please consider inviting your friends to help, if you want to see me do more work like this.

More Info

I'm a blogger living in Arkansas. I write about the deregulation and privatization of public schools. In November, I used a bunch of public records (IRS forms, documents from the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, newspaper articles, etc.) to write a blog post exposing the nepotism and questionable ethics behind Haas Hall Academy -- currently the #1 school in Arkansas.

My Haas Hall post went viral when Arkansas Senator Joyce Elliott shared it on her Twitter feed.

Since then, I've been trying to follow up with new research. According to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, public schools (yes, even charter schools) are supposed to make their records available to Arkansas citizens for viewing and copying, within 72 hours of a request.

I filed a detailed FOIA request with Haas Hall Academy superintendent, Dr. Martin Schoppmeyer, Jr., on December 18. 72 hours later, the Rose Law Firm responded, on behalf of Haas Hall. (Yes, that Rose Law Firm.)

The documents I'm asking for are extensive & detailed. If I get them, I believe they are likely to contradict the slick advertising campaigns that are usually the public face of Haas Hall. However, Haas Hall is not forthcoming. They're hiding behind a very expensive, powerful law firm.

I filed a civil suit this morning, pro se. It was assigned to Judge John Threet, who recused himself this afternoon.

Looks like it's gonna be a battle, folks. I would really like to have an attorney. Anybody care to contribute toward my legal fees?

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Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #3

A huge THANK YOU to all my current supporters! Without you, I wouldn't have been able to pay the $600 I spent on photocopies at Staples in preparation for the State Board of Education meeting on Valentine's Day.

Just in case you didn't hear, the State Board REJECTED Haas Hall's "Diversity and Partnership" report that day. They asked some tough questions -- including asking for the name of the Diversity Outreach Coordinator that the superintendent had testified, in 2016, was IN PLACE at the Springdale campus. After the headmasters acted befuddled, Haas Hall's attorney (Mark Henry, from the Rose Law Firm) stepped up to provide a name to the State Board: Caroline Proctor.

Caroline Proctor has had her hand in Dreamland Academy (convicted for fraud,) eStem charter schools, and several other Arkansas charters. If I hadn't already FOIA-requested her personnel file from Haas Hall (and brought all my FOIA docs with me to the State Board of Ed meeting) I wouldn't have been able to immediately inform the Board that Haas Hall had "laid off" Caroline Proctor for "lack of work," and that her claim for unemployment had been approved.

Boom! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN6GV37VmMI

Couldn't do it with you guys. Thanks for your support!

Please consider inviting your friends to help, if you want to see me do more work like this.

Join the Conversation

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Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #2

Exciting announcement: I will be one of the speakers at the Town Hall on Public Education on February 9 at the Jones Center in Springdale, AR!

Expect a diverse panel of educators, administrators, state legislators, and nonprofit leaders to speak, with a Q&A discussion facilitated by Bill Kopsky of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel.

Also, my lawyer charged me $2000 to take on the FOIA case. I had $1500 in the bank when I wrote him the check, so the $490 you have donated so far will make up the difference when it hits my account on January 22.

THANK YOU all!

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Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #1

Today, after I posted my new blog post "Arkansas' Own Empire Should Have Paid Finn Better," based on more FOIA requests, my readership shot up past 2,000 views in a single day. Clearly, people are into it!

Sadly, I also got introduced to a woman whose son (a former Haas Hall student) almost died from suicide because of his experiences with the school last fall. Her story is available on her public Facebook posts: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.baileytaylor

Then, this evening, Haas Hall "rescheduled" their school board meeting until next month, so they wouldn't have to face angry parents or answer difficult questions.

This is clearly working. But I really, really can't pay for it all myself. Please help! Share if you can!

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