Joel Chandler is an open records advocate in Florida. He attained notoriety after taking the Polk County School District to court when it refused to comply with a Florida Sunshine Law request for documents that he made. He won the court case and subsequently filed the same request for documents with each of the state's 67 school districts. Wes Bridges, the Polk County School District's lawyer, has since been charged with violations of the Sunshine Law, after a State Attorney's Office investigation reached the conclusion that Bridges failed to provide the requested records within the proper time frame.
For his efforts, Chandler received the Sunshine Troublemaker of the Week award on November 3, 2008.
Senate Bill 0468 was proposed in reaction to Chandler's request. The bill sought to exempt "personal identifying information regarding the health and benefit coverage of public school employees" from the Florida Sunshine Law.
School district compliance audit
Chandler conducted an audit in late 2008 of compliance with the law by Florida school districts. Grades obtained by the 67 districts ranged from "F" to an "A+" for the Collier County school district.
- 2012 Sunshine Week Local Hero Award
- I Am Troublemaker, Joel Chandler's personal website
- School Board's Lawyer Faces Charges, The Ledger, April 18, 2009
- Lawmakers May Stall Lakeland Man's Quest For School Records, The Ledger, January 31, 2009
- Joel Chandler's Public Records Report Card for Florida's school districts, 2008