The Colorado state legislature has been a place of little significant action lately. But one bill first scheduled to be heard in committee this week is Senate Bill 57 (PDF), which would open up the spending of school districts and other local education agencies in an online searchable database.
Read about the advantages of this sort of policy change in my new Independence Institute op-ed:
Colorado has a tremendous opportunity to lead the way in making public education a more truly public enterprise.
School officials should place detailed and useful spending information where citizens can access it freely: the Internet. Such a simple and highly cost-effective approach promotes public accountability and transparency.
Public schools in Colorado are funded through taxpayer dollars and governed by boards accountable to taxpayers and parents. But school boards generally set policies and oversee affairs from a high-perched mountain view.
Bringing more concerned eyes to keep tabs on the taxpayer money flowing in and out of the education bureaucracy can only help. Financial transparency provides incentives to focus spending on classroom activities and other priorities supported by the community. It also promotes better-informed public debate and greater taxpayer confidence in the management of their money….(Read more)