The state Attorney General's office today asked a judge to order the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden to either hand over records requested by a local reporter, an advocacy group and a Malden resident or give a better answer than it doesn't want to.
In a complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court, AG Andrea Campbell's office said that because the school is funded entirely by the government and is subject to state regulations - in fact, state law describes charter schools as "public schools" - Mystic Valley is subject to the state public-records law.
But, the complaint continues, the school has repeatedly refused to either hand over documents requested by Malden News Network, Commonwealth Transparency and Lissette Alvarado, who is currently running for Malden mayor or offer an accounting of why the documents are exempt, despite repeated demands to do so by the Secretary of State's office, which oversees compliance with the law.
The requests, which date to last year, cover such topics as the school's payroll records and consulting and legal contracts, leases in Malden, conflict-of-interest issues, copies of information packets distributed to board members before meetings, accountings of school income from both government agencies and private donors, copies of e-mail from and to Malden city officials and e-mail and other correspondence related to Boston Globe stories about the school, which has been the subject of articles related to allegations of racism.
The Attorney General's office said it wrote the school on Oct. 20, 2022 "and directed it to comply" with the public-records law." But after the school declined to respond, a state attorney called its lawyer - who said it was not subject to the public records law and would continue to stand by that until a judge said otherwise.