Russ McDaniel

Belgrade High School Principal Russ McDaniel refused to hand over public documents Thursday regarding a contract for a story on vending machines.

McDaniel said he was “too busy” and the public records request was “not a high priority” for him.

Belgrade District Clerk Jay Bates said the contract in question has not changed since the original signing some years ago. High school administrators said the contract required a competitor to pull out. But the competitor in question was in place when the contested contract was in place. It was also said the failed mill levy required the vendor removal. District administrators did not confirm that allegation.

Montana law reads “every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of public writings of this state...” The law further reads that public documents are available for inspection at all times during office hours.