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Ed News Colorado Highlights I.I. Report on State of Local K-12 Financial Transparency

In its “Daily Churn” for Tuesday, November 8, Ed News Colorado highlighted the release of Time to Show the Money, a new report from the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center highlighting how many of the state’s local K-12 agencies have not complied with the Public School Financial Transparency Act. Ed News featured a response from the state school boards association:

Devan Crean and Ben DeGrow of the free market-oriented group surveyed district websites to assess compliance with House Bill 10-1036, whose provisions went into effect this year.

The text of the study notes, however, “Lack of compliance may be explained in part by the challenge of interpreting the law itself.”

The study also found, “The larger the school district, the more likely it is to be in compliance. Twelve of Colorado’s 20 largest districts — those with 10,000 or more enrolled students — make up half of the districts fully compliant with 2011 transparency requirements. The other eight are almost compliant.”

Asked about the report, Jane Urschel, deputy executive director of the Colorado Association of School Boards, noted, “There are 30 districts where the superintendents are doubling as the principal. Five years ago, it was two or three where that was the case. I think this is what is happening – many districts are trying to make choices in choosing the highest priorities for use of their time. They aren’t ignoring the law intentionally.”

The new report mentions the potential challenges facing many smaller school districts, but as the Independence Institute’s Ed Is Watching observes, they “can find true inspiration in the transparency efforts of tiny Silverton School District in southwestern Colorado’s gorgeous mountain country” (not to mention a few other shining examples).

Time to Show the Money also has received coverage from the Colorado Springs Gazette, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (subscription required), Sterling Journal-Advocate and Greeley Gazette.

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