But Mary Reynolds, Farmington schools’ executive director of business services, said personal payroll information is simply sifted out and the district’s Web master posts the rest on their Web site.
“This is an easy thing to do, and I just think that it’s the right thing, since we are a public entity that takes in public dollars. We’re online 24-7 … and we’re available to discuss it with anyone who has a question.”
A measure similar to Colorado’s was rejected by Texas lawmakers two years ago and yet another is before Michigan legislators this spring.
In Illinois, where about 42 districts have posted checkbooks online, Paul Miller of the “to-do tank” Sam Adams Alliance is applauding such efforts for open school finance records - and shaking the trees for even greater government scrutiny.
“With transparency, you are going to have more school districts accountable to children and the parents instead of unions and special interests,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s a huge no-brainer. Parents have a right to know how their money is being spent on their children’s education.”
His organization is spearheading a Wiki-based project called Sunshine Review, a comprehensive analysis and transparency evaluation of all 3,140 counties in the United States.
The Alliance uses a 10-point checklist that measures budgets, taxes, contracts and lobbying efforts, as well as provides information about elected officials and administrators. The details are compared around the country, with Arizona earning highest marks for transparency while Arkansas came in last.
The site has had 1.5 million page views since it started in July 2008 and more than 18,000 pages of records have been created by contributors Wiki-style, Mr. Miller said.
The Review will soon turn its attention on school districts after its project with county governments is complete.
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