Leaner Budget Times Call for Colorado Schools to Post Finances Online
It’s going to be a tough fiscal year for education officials used to managing ever-expanding tax-funded budgets. 2009 just might be a year in which policy makers and administrators find ways to cut out the fat and focus the lean spending on classroom success.
One way to help is to empower everyday citizens – like my mom and dad, and thousands of other Colorado taxpayers – with detailed financial information online so they can help find cost savings. What am I talking about? It’s called online financial transparency. Can you imagine if school districts and other local education agencies all had searchable databases on their websites that allowed you to see exactly how money is being spent?
What once was a distant dream is fast approaching reality. My Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow explains it all in his new backgrounder Shining the Light on Colorado School Spending.
Transparency promote greater public accountability and confidence that local schools are being run efficiently and effectively. In many cases it also pays for itself. Today’s technology means it requires little time and cost to put up these databases. Hopefully, some Colorado school district will take the lead and do this on its own initiative. But even if not, some state legislators have brought forward Senate Bill 57 (PDF) to make it the law of the state.
We’ll see what happens.