From The Plain Dealer State Superintendent Richard Ross and his staff have refused for the second time to provide records that would support his claims that he had no role in his department's charter school data-rigging controversy.
The Ohio Department of Education has instead maintained its seemingly-contradictory stance in denying The Plain Dealer's request for Ross' emails from the last two years.
While the department claims that Ross "doesn't use e-mail very often," it won't provide the e-mails because the request is "overly broad" and the e-mails are too "voluminous."
"We have determined that your request is still ambiguous and overly broad," ODE lawyer Immy Singh wrote. "Please see Ohio Revised Code section 149.43(B)(2). As a result, your request lack(s) the specificity the office needs to identify and locate responsive records."
The latest denial came Dec. 4, just one day after The Plain Dealer's Dec. 3 report about the department's weeks-long delays in responding to the request.
Along with denying public access to Ross' e-mails, the department is also refusing to say how many e-mails Ross sent in that period, which The Plain Dealer requested to verify claims that he does not e-mail regularly.
The denial also comes as Ross is less than a month away from retiring, effective Dec. 31.
The Plain Dealer first asked for Ross' emails Sept. 14, shortly after finding that there was not a single piece of correspondence from Ross – either e-mail, text message or note - in about 100,000 pages of documents provided by the department about key ratings of charter school oversight agencies, known as "sponsors" or "authorizers."