Superintendent Chuck Hatfield said the Sunshine Review's grade is "quite frankly, insulting."
He and Assistant Superintendent Cindy Daniel said the school's website got kudos during a recent federal audit and that some of the information the Sunshine Review said is missing is actually available.
For example, he said, there are phone numbers for most school board members under the Board of Education tab on the website. The same tab also links to a 345-page policy dated 1995 that does include instructions for filing a public records request.
"It sounds like they didn't spend enough time to look for those things," Hatfield said.
The Sunshine Review's report said the Kanawha County schools website had similar flaws, including not having any information about test scores, audits, budget, taxes and administrative officials. Calls to the school district weren't returned Thursday, but a search on its website proves there is an employee directory that provides names and email addresses of administrators.
The Sunshine Review's report about the city of Charleston's website said it was "good" that the city had contact information for most officials and provided meeting minutes. The list of the "bad" in the report included not having information about public records, lobbying, meeting agendas and current-year budgets.
Deputy Mayor Rod Blackstone said the city is redeveloping its website and will take the group's recommendations into consideration. But he also said the Sunshine Review's report wasn't complete.
"They probably missed a few things," he said.
On Thursday, there were links to meeting agendas on the site for city council, the board of zoning appeals and the finance committee.
Blackstone said the group is correct -- the current year's budget isn't up yet, but that's because the fiscal year began July 1 and the finance director just handed out the budget to committee heads.
He also said the Sunshine Review is probably using a "litmus test" to look at all government websites, but some of it isn't applicable. While West Virginia has registered lobbyists, Charleston doesn't, so that criterion shouldn't be factored into the website's grade, he said.
Blackstone said he understands what the organization was trying to do -- see how much it could find out using a city's website. Charleston is moving its public records online, so while everything is available one way or another, not all records are on the web yet.
"I think we deserved a whole lot better grade than what they gave us," Blackstone said.
McMurray said, in a case like West Virginia's, the organization is always willing to take a second look at a website if its administrators think something was missed because it wants governments to work toward being transparent.
"We're here to try and help them and give them some general guidelines," she said.
Reach Alison Matas at alison.ma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.