Mead School District by the Numbers
Mead School District is a small but highly regarded public school system serving 10,000 students and 500 teachers (FTE) on the north side of Spokane, Washington.
Recently, school districts across the country have been called upon to provide ever greater transparency. Mead takes this responsibility seriously by publishing high-interest district records on their website and promptly responding to records requests. Public Information Officer Todd Zeidler and Public Records Specialist Monique Palm are primarily responsible for handling these requests.
In the past, Monique and Todd used a spreadsheet for tracking requests—a complex, color-coordinated, difficult-to-maintain spreadsheet designed by their predecessors. Requests for emails particularly added to the complexity. An “any and all” type request about a hot-button issue could result in thousands of emails to manually retrieve, sort, and redact.
At the recommendation of friends in other districts—and even their lawyer!—they chose feature-rich, easy-to-use JustFOIA. According to Todd, “It checked all the boxes.”
“We wanted a more efficient process, and we felt the sooner, the better!” Monique added.
Mead School District signed the contract with JustFOIA on May 1, 2023. Typically, JustFOIA’s full-service, personalized onboarding takes 4-6 weeks. But the JustFOIA team saw Monique and Todd’s motivation to get started. So, we were all in to launch before the school year ended!
“Once we identified a timeline to focus on this new system, we jumped on the opportunity,” Todd said. Monique and Todd knew that JustFOIA was easy to use, but learning the system and new process required their full attention during the three weeks of their implementation. They came prepared to each meeting with their JustFOIA project coordinator, Ashley Di Blasi, having watched training videos to preview what they would learn or practiced the skills from the prior session.
“It was a perfect implementation in terms of engagement,” Ashley said. “We set the expectation that we needed them to be available, to do their homework, and so on. They were like, ‘Yeah, what do you want me to do?’ They were very interactive and worked well together.”
We strive to move each implementation at the pace of our clients’ needs, combined with their user training and system requirements. In this instance, Mead’s fairly straightforward setup—combined with their dedication to the project—meant that we were able to implement their system in record time….
Mead’s JustFOIA site was live and processing requests in just 15 business days.
“We are thankful that JustFOIA was able to scale the launch to fit our accelerated timeline,” Todd said.
Mead’s Success with Public Records Requests
Mead saw the benefits of their JustFOIA system right away.
👉 Transparency. First and foremost, JustFOIA has improved Mead’s ability to provide the transparency stakeholders seek!
👉 Communication with Requesters. Rather than manually emailing back and forth, JustFOIA can send quick, automated correspondence to request clarification or provide updates.
👉 Smooth Process for Emails. JustFOIA’s “Any and All” module allows for quick extraction, review, redaction, and response to requests for emails.
👉 Easy to Meet Complex Reporting Requirements. The implementation team configured Mead’s system to collect data for the State of Washington’s complex JLARC reports in just a few clicks.