Colorado Legislators Advance Modest School Spending Transparency Bill

Last Thursday afternoon I testified before the House Education Committee at the State Capitol on House Bill 1036 and what effective public school financial transparency should look like. The best coverage came from the Colorado News Agency:

HB 1036, called the Public School Financial Transparency Act, contains many of the same provisions as last year’s all-GOP effort by Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Ted Harvey, R- Highlands Ranch. That bill died on a party-line vote in the same committee. Stephens, who also is a co-sponsor on the new bill, and Harvey have reintroduced their bill again this year as Senate Bill 91, which they say would provide an easier way for people to search for and use data in a more meaningful way while including more descriptive characterizations of line items.

Stephens, however, said she would be happy to see HB 1036 pass to achieve increased transparency.

I agree with Rep. Stephens on this point. The more transparency the merrier. While SB 91 ultimately would be more effective, HB 1036 is better than nothing. In the interest of increasing school spending transparency, the Colorado General Assembly could pass both bills.

To read my brief analysis of the bills, as well as some information on Jeffco Public Schools’ financial transparency database (quite possibly the best of its kind in the nation), please read my brief new Independence Institute backgrounder “What Should School District Financial Transparency Look Like?” (PDF).

HB 1036 is on the legislative calendar to be heard for 2nd reading by the full house tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9 AM. You can listen in (or watch) by going here. Or follow my Twitter page for a quick recap of any debate that may take place.

It’s all in the interest of transparency, you know.

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