I wrote a letter to the editor concerning some activism (ffrf's word) I did to Freedom From Religion Foundation of which I am a member and they asked if I would write the story (of my activism) in more detail and include a photo. I obliged as I was quite flattered frankly. The story is below. Above the story is ffrf's response. I am an activist baby! The byline will be in December's Free Thought Today
. Which will come out first part of January.
Thank you! I will write it up as It Pays to Complain with your byline. I've forwarded your last email to Legal and to Annie Laurie. Maybe they can answer your final question in an editor's note.
On Dec 1, 2012, at 4:30 PM, Jeff Albright wrote:
Shortly after I got back home from the FFRF Convention (OCT 12,13 2012) I started hearing these advertisements on the radio where I live in Clarkston, WA. The ads were for a church called Canyons Church and their services are being held at the Clarkston High School auditorium. This is our public high school of which I am a 1980 graduate. I thought this to be curious having church at the public high school. When, eventually, I saw a huge billboard advertising Canyons Church at CHS (no disclaimer by school) I decided I should look into this situation.
I went to ffrf.org. I went to LEGAL at the top of the page and clicked on State/Church FAQ on the dropdown. I scrolled down and found Churches Meeting At Public Schools. FFRF said I could do a public records request and would have to pay for copies of the information I am requesting. FFRF said to 1) Ask the school district for a copy of the rental contract. 2) Ask for verification that rent has been paid up to date. 3) Ask for a copy of the school districts rental rate schedule to confirm that rent is reasonable.
I emailed the superintendent with the public records request on Nov 11, 2012. He replied on Nov 13 that he would have the information to me by Nov 20 per RCW 42.56.520. On Nov 19 I received a phone call from Wendy the Executive Director for Financial Services. I could pick up the information at the school district office. I paid $1.05 for the copies (8 pages) and went home to study them. A cover letter was attached and in part said, "The third request asks for the current payment status of the Canyons Church account. Canyons Church is paid up through June 24, 2012. The district is at fault for not billing beyond this date (up until Friday, November 16, 2012) due to a glitch in our system that we corrected on Friday. Invoices totalling $4,648 were sent to Canyons Church on November 16th."
Hopefully the church is up to date and will stay that way. There were two other things the FAQ advised. 4) Monitor signs and 5) Disclaimers. I did not find any signs at the school other than on the day of the service. There, however, was no disclaimer on the billboard in neighboring Lewiston, Id. One last thing. The contracts state that all charges associated with use of facilities will be paid in full within (10) business days of receipt of invoice from the Clarkston School District. Yet the June 24 billing invoice date was 8/31/12, it was mailed on 9/11/12, due date was 9/30/12 and finally the invoice was paid on 10/15/12 (15 days late and apparently without penalty).
This whole process was quite exciting I must admit. What shall I do next?