Where we stand on our open records requests with the Shawnee Mission School District

first_imgDeb Zila has represented the SM South area on the Shawnee Mission Board of Education since 2007. CBIZ, a district contractor, hired her daughter for an on-site job with the district last year.We’ve gotten a handful of questions from readers about the status of the Kansas Open Records Act requests we submitted last month seeking communications regarding the hiring of Board of Education member Deb Zila’s daughter Mallory for an in-district job with CBIZ, the district’s health insurance broker.As a reminder, those requests sought the following:All electronic mail records on district administration servers referencing Mallory Zila sent or received between April 1, 2016 and August 30, 2016All electronic mail correspondence between Deb Zila and Jim Hinson from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016Copies of all electronic mail correspondence sent or received by Deb Zila between the dates Feb. 1, 2016 and Aug. 15, 2016 that include the word “Mallory”Copies of all text messages sent between Jim Hinson and Deb Zila from 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 7 through noon Monday, March 13.Copies of all electronic mail correspondence sent by members of the Board of Education between 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 and 11:30 a.m. Monday, March 13.As we wrote last month, pursuant to Kansas law, the district requested pre-payment before proceeding with efforts to pull the email records for the requests above. Before we decided whether or not to pay the fees of more than $1,000, we wanted to know more about the district’s policies on which channels are used for correspondence regarding district business, and what kinds of electronic mail records the district keeps on its servers and for how long.We learned that:1.) There are no laws that compel a school district to keep correspondence on file for any specific amount of time. “There are no state or federal laws that apply directly to school districts that dictate which email or other communications we save,” wrote a district spokesperson. “In accordance with the Kansas general records retention schedule – which is not applicable to school districts – but which we use as a guideline (K.S.A. 45-404(b)) – any email or correspondence reflecting decisions regarding Board policy should be and are preserved.”2.) There is no written policy in effect mandating that board members and administrators use their official district email accounts to conduct district business.Because an administrator’s personal email account would not be searchable without that person’s consent and there is no guarantee that anyone would preserve all correspondence on a personal account, we had no way to know whether the documents we would receive through the open records act requests would provide a full account of the correspondence we sought.We also had questions about whether the time estimates the district provided for staff time needed to comply with the requests were reasonable. To address those concerns, we asked whether we would be permitted to have an observer on site while the work to pull the emails was under way to confirm that it would take as long as the estimates suggested. We were told that “due to confidentiality/privacy concerns” the district could not grant that request.Given the above, we chose only to make a pre-payment for the request that sought the board of education’s emails in the week following our publication of the story on Mallory Zila’s hiring. The district has informed us it will deliver those records by April 28.In an unrelated matter, we also put in a KORA request seeking administrator contracts for the current school year and for the final year of Superintendent Gene Johnson’s tenure with the district. The district initially indicated it would take eight hours to pull those files and that they would charge us $10 an hour for the work. We received word a few days after making the pre-payment for the documents that it had taken just three hours, and the district cut the price by $50. We’re currently analyzing those documents, and will be publishing a story on what we find in the coming days.last_img read more

Depression lowers women’s chances of pregnancy

first_imgWomen with severe depressive symptoms have a decreased chance of becoming pregnant, while the use of psychotropic medications does not appear to harm fertility, a study by researchers from the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine shows.The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found a 38 percent decrease in the average probability of conception in a given menstrual cycle among women who reported severe depressive symptoms, compared to those with no or low symptoms. The results were similar, regardless of whether the women were on psychotropic medications.Despite associations in prior studies between infertility and the use of antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers among already infertile women, “current use of psychotropic medications did not appear to harm the probability of conception,” said lead author Yael Nillni, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine and a researcher with the National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division of the VA Boston Healthcare System. “Our findings suggest that moderate to severe depressive symptoms, regardless of current psychotropic medication treatment, may delay conception.” Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Pinterest Emailcenter_img Share Although the study does not answer why women with more depressive symptoms may take longer to become pregnant, the authors noted several potential mechanisms for future study. Depression has been associated with dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which may influence the menstrual cycle and affect the ability to conceive, for example.Data for the study came from more than 2,100 female pregnancy planners, ages 21-45 years, enrolled in a BU-led study known as PRESTO (Pregnancy Study Online) that is looking at factors influencing fertility. The participants were asked to report their current depressive symptoms and psychotropic medication use, among many other factors. Overall, 22 percent reported a clinical diagnosis of depression in their medical histories, while 17.2 percent were former users of psychotropic medication, and 10.3 percent were current users of psychotropic drugs.Among the study’s secondary findings was that current use of benzodiazepines – sedatives used to treat anxiety and other disorders – was associated with a decrease in fecundability. Also, women who were formerly treated with a class of antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) had improved chances of conception, regardless of depressive symptom severity. The authors speculated that former SSRI users could experience some long-term psychological or neurobiological benefits from past treatment that influence fertility. However, the numbers of individual classes of medications were small, and further study is needed, they said.An estimated 10 to 15 percent of couples in the U.S. experience infertility. Women have a higher prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders during their childbearing years than during other times of life, past research suggests. LinkedInlast_img read more

Stress taking its toll on barristers, survey shows

first_imgOne in eight barristers are ‘emotionally exhausted’ and more than half do not sleep properly. These are among the shocking findings of the most comprehensive survey of barristers’ wellbeing yet conducted, published by the Bar Council today.Stress and the absence of leadership role models were among the factors that weighed most on wellbeing among barristers, the representative body revealed, with many practitioners reluctant to seek help because of stigma around stress at the bar.Of 2,456 respondents to the survey – one sixth of the profession – at least 300 experienced emotional exhaustion, while 1,364 said they did not get enough good quality sleep.Half of the respondents (1,152) said they faced high levels of stress at work, with two-thirds (1,614) admitting that their current level of stress had a negative impact on their performance.  Financial concerns, high expectations, devaluation of the profession in the eyes of the public and government, and long unsocial working hours were shown as the most challenging aspects of life at the bar.At the self-employed bar, half of respondents said they felt disengaged at work. At the employed bar the proportion was one-third.However, employed barristers reported facing challenges caused by a lack of autonomy and a reduced sense of status compared with their self-employed colleagues.Those experiencing the highest work pressure and life satisfaction were aged between 35 and 55, while those at the criminal bar reported the highest level of pressure.Formal or informal mentoring was shown to ‘significantly’ reduce stress, although few respondents reported receiving mentoring. The bar plans to extend its mentoring service and produce guidance for chambers.Alistair MacDonald QC, chairman of the bar, said. ‘For too long, stress, mental health and wellbeing have been taboo subjects of discussion at the bar and in the wider legal sector.’last_img read more

Visiting Cuban Medical Professional Dies Suddenly

first_img Share Sharing is caring! LocalNews Visiting Cuban Medical Professional Dies Suddenly by: – May 7, 2020 Share Tweetcenter_img Share 208 Views   no discussions                                        Yoet Michel Ramos CorderoA member of the Cuban medical team, which arrived in Dominica on March 29th, has died.Yoet Michel Ramos Cordero, a 42-year-old man collapsed suddenly on Monday evening.The cause of death has not been revealed but the details shared by the island’s Hon Health Minister, Dr Irving McIntyre are that he had just completed an incubation cycle to rule out Covid19.Dr McIntyre said on Wednesday evening, “He completed two weeks of quarantine in Portsmouth after which he was assigned to the Covid Isolation Unit at the [Dominica-China Friendship] Hospital where he worked from April 16-20.”After completing that week schedule, Dr McIntyre said further, “He again did another two weeks quarantine which is the normal protocol.”Cordero was due to begin work at the Accident & Emergency Department on Tuesday when he collapsed.“It was a very sad day for the Cuban brigade as well as for Dominica,” Dr McIntyre said. “For this we extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to the people of the Republic of Cuba.last_img read more