State’s top court hears FOIA case against IHSA

By Greg Bishop 
Illinois News Network

It’s now up to the Illinois Supreme Court to decide whether the Illinois High School Association should open its records to the public.

The case was spurred on by the Better Government Association after the association was denied a Freedom of Information Act request by IHSA.

BGA Attorney Matt Topic said the association sought “various contracts in which IHSA has entered, but really the issue is a much broader one really getting at the question of whether they’re subject to disclosure obligations.”

Topic argued IHSA should be subject to Freedom of Information Act requirements because it receives some taxpayer-funded resources, “which doesn’t necessarily need to be direct tax dollars. But it also more importantly looks at the type of function that they’re performing and whether they’re controlled by government. Here, school districts.”

The outcome of the case could have a ripple effect, opening the books of organizations that receive taxpayer money directly or other taxpayer-funded resources.

This is the first time the state’s high court has dealt with this kind of issue, Topic said.

“There are definitely many other entities similar to IHSA. There are entities that have been created specifically for the purpose of performing a governmental function,” he said. “Navy Pier Inc. is an example. So there will be more cases like this and the decision here will likely inform those.”

IHSA’s Matt Troha said in an email “due to the ongoing litigation, we are not currently commenting on the case.”

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