By Michael Howell
The Missoula County Public School District has taken a set of requests for information from the media about Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey, who worked at the school district under the name Valerie Addis, directly into District Court. The District has named the Bitterroot Star, KECI and the Missoula Independent and Valerie Addis as defendants in a petition to the court asking the judge to take all the information in possession of the district and conduct a private “en camera” review of the material and make a declaratory ruling about what can and cannot be released to the media.
The district did provide copies of Addis’ resignation letter and separation agreement upon request, but wants a judge to decide what else might be public and what remains private under the law.
The Bitterroot Star requested, among other documents, “any documents reflecting disciplinary issues in which Valerie Addis (or Stamey) was alleged to have engaged in fraudulent or illegal activity in respect to the Missoula County Public Schools.” The Missoula Independent asked for public board minutes and “anything sent to the other media.” KECI asked for, among other documents, “hire and separation information for Valerie Addis.”
Addis (Stamey) has notified the district that she is asserting her right to privacy concerning her employment records.
Attorney for the school district Elizabeth Kaleva states that she is filing the petition with the court to avoid being sued by either the media or Addis over the request. The suit was filed on February 4 in Missoula County District Court.