Court rules bus driver information is public

WISCONSIN ‘ A appeals court in Madison ruled in November that the Milwaukee Public School District must release information about its bus drivers and their driving records.

The 2-1 ruling upheld a previous decision that the school district should release the names of 1,400 drivers once they had been given a chance to object. Of the 801 bus drivers who requested their records be kept private, the court found only six had legitimate reasons for them not to be released.

Since the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 1996 decision in Woznicki v. Erickson, citizens hold the right to be notified before their records are released and may sue to stop the release.

The bus drivers’ case stems from a television reporter’s request to view the records. The court’s ruling stated that the reporter should receive the information because the public’s right to know was greater than the drivers’ need for privacy.

The court also ruled that state law does not require parties to provide a reason they are requesting information.