Sequim schools agree to $40K settlement over public records dispute

District updates policy to ‘beef up’ consultation with third parties

SEQUIM — The Sequim School District has settled a public records dispute with a Whidbey Island resident for $40,000.

Board directors at their regular meeting on April 22 approved the payment to Eric Hood of Langley following a May 2020 Public Records Act request.

Directors approved the settlement in the general fund vouchers and approved in the consent agenda with no discussion.

School board president Eric Pickens said he is prevented from speaking about the payment per terms of the settlement.

The school district posted a note on its public records web page ( “The District’s initial response to Mr. Eric Hood’s May 18, 2020 request did not comply with the Public Records Act. The District has revised its Procedure 4040P to reflect those compliance requirements and facilitate future public records processing.”

Board directors agreed to offer a settlement in executive session at the end of a board meeting on March 4 but did not disclose the settlement amount or the person to whom it was awarded.

In an email in April, Hood provided the terms of the settlement — one that includes revision of its public records disclosure procedure, admitting the district’s initial response did not comply with the PRA and that proper Public Records Act requires: “a. careful reading requests, making no assumptions about the requester’s intended meaning without confirming that intent with the requester, and b. determining whether the request could be relevant to elected officials, higher management, and any third party retaining public records for the District, whose files may also contain responsive records, and if so, search their files.”

Victoria Balint, the school district’s director of Human Resources, said the changes to the policy were made because “we needed to beef up our consultation with third parties who hold records on our behalf.”

Hood also agreed to drop a pending lawsuit filed in Clallam County Superior Court, according to the settlement.


Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at

More in News

Piping plan could be reinstated

Votes reaffirm Sequim board members

Sequim police propose updated noise control ordinance

Public hearing set June 10 at civic center

Members of the Captain Joseph House Foundation gather in October to celebrate the gifting of a Gold Star Monument marker in front of the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles. (Courtesy photo)
Captain Joseph House to host Memorial Day ceremony

Respite home provides space for Gold Star Families

Memorial Day ceremonies set across Peninsula

Public invited to events in Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Sequim

Dash Air to pursue a public charter

Model would change from commercial service

Board recommends $940K for Clallam Bay-Sekiu sewer

Two lift stations would be replaced in coming year

Investigators seeking woman who used ATM

Items involved in officer-involved shooting sent to state crime lab

Benji Astrachan of Sisterland Farms collects bins of unwanted food collected by restaurants at the Wharf in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Certification connects businesses, sustainable practices

Green Wheel designation focusing on diverting waste from landfills

Health report prompts concerns

Food bank leaders: Rodent problem being addressed

Port Angeles approves funds for housing project

City also OKs five-year police body-worn camera contract

Greywolf Elementary shelters in place during police activity

A man has been arrested following police activity in the… Continue reading