The South Shore Regional Centre for Education (SSRCE) anticipates it will cost over $4,000 to check, prepare, copy and potentially release three months worth of emails from two accounts concerning a Mahone Bay principal's suspension and reinstatement last year.
LighthouseNOW filed a freedom-of-information requests seeking emails pertaining to the controversy between September and December 2018 from the accounts of Bayview Community School principal Lamar Eason and former SSRCE regional executive director Scott Milner.
The SSRCE's communications director, Angelina McConnell, estimates it would cost $4,301 to review a "substantial" number of records and it will take a "substantial" amount of time to ensure the documents can be disclosed, factoring in appropriate exemptions such as those of personal privacy.
In a letters to LighthouseNOW containing the combined four-figure fee estimate, McConnell said an electronic search of keywords "Bayview"; "Leave"; "HR"; "Lamar"; "Complaint"; "Investigation," in Milner and Eason's accounts yielded 678 and 1,933 records, respectively.
The SSRCE requested LighthouseNOW pay $850 as a deposit. A full or partial fee waiver was denied because SSRCE "are not of the view that there is sufficient 'public interest'" as defined by legislation, reports, and case law.
The final fee estimate is based on 20 cents per page of photocopying and 130 hours to prepare the records at a cost of $30 per hour.
A complaint was filed last May against Eason at a time when he held the position of race relations, cross-cultural understanding and human rights coordinator with the former South Shore Regional School Board.
Eason was the Mahone Bay school principal when he was placed on administrative leave November 12, 2018, but parents didn't know about the suspension until shortly before his reinstatement later in the month.
Meanwhile, Milner moved to the province's education department in February.
Paul Ash is now the SSRCE regional executive director.