TRENTON – The state’s Senate majority leader is challenging the New Jersey Department of Education to disclose information on the role of departmental consultants underwritten by outside education organizations, the Senate majority party announced Friday.
Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), Teaneck, announced filing an Open Public Records Act request today following reports that the Education Law Center was refused full responses to multiple OPRA requests, Senate officials said.
“I believe that the work of the state must be conducted in an open and transparent manner and outside of the exceptions articulated within the law the public should be afforded access to public records,” Weinberg said in a statement.
“I have concerns about the rationalization utilized for the denial of this information,” she said.
In June, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education, claiming the agency failed to comply with the state’s public record laws.
The suit was in response to the Education Law Center’s two OPRA requests for “records detailing the DOE’s relationships with two private foundations that fund public education initiatives and other philanthropic endeavors,” specifically the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, according to the ACLU-NJ.
“The DOE failed to turn over any information in response to one request, dated March 27, and it unlawfully denied a second request filed on May 17,” read a statement from the civil liberties group’s June news release.
Weinberg’s records request inquires about the role played by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and by the “consultants” who work within the Education Department but are on the payrolls of the foundations, Senate Democrats said.