VANCOUVER, Wash. -- The Battle Ground school district may have violated state public records law by withholding the contract that spelled out a $402,000 severance agreement with a departing superintendent.

The Columbian reportsschool board members signed the agreement with Superintendent Shonny Bria on April 29, but withheld the document for almost two months and told the newspaper no such record existed.

The state's open government ombudsman, Timothy Ford, said full disclosure is required unless it's exempt under state law.

Deputy State Auditor Matt Miller said the agreement became a public document when it was signed by both parties.

The school board said it withheld the contract from the public because Bria had applied for superintendent positions in other districts and provisions would be void if she obtained another job.

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