HERMISTON - The Hermiston School Board put off deciding on a proposal to formalize the district's public information policy Tuesday evening so that members could have more time to review it.

The measure would clarify the right of the public to view most district documents, but required that those requesting the information give their name, signature, address and phone number.

Board Member Roger Bounds proposed tabling the measure so that members could discuss it at a work session later this month. Members voted 6-1 to postpone the vote. The Board will consider the measure for final approval at May's regular meeting.

Bounds said the personal information requirement was not in the spirit of the public disclosure laws.

"I don't know if we have the right to demand that information," he said. "It's enough to scare anybody off."

Oregon's open records laws do not require the person requesting records to identify themselves, but neither do they prohibit such a requirement. However, the Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual notes that "the identity, motive and need of the person requesting access to public records are irrelevant."

Board member Phil Hamm, the lone vote against postponing approval, said the request for personal information is reasonable. He mentioned that some public information requests have to be mailed, which would require an address.

"There's no reason not to provide that information," he said.

Currently, the district has rules in place to ensure that records are available to the public, Superintendent Jerry Wilson said, "But we certainly want to do better."

The board's next work session is 7 p.m. April 19 at Desert View Elementary School.

In other business Tuesday, the board voted 6-0 to approve the hiring of two new elementary school principals.

Mike Scott, principal of Stanfield Elementary, will replace Mark Mulvihill at Desert View Elementary.

Shane Pratt, principal of McNary Heights Elementary in Umatilla, will replace Tammy Ashbeck at Desert View Elementary.

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