Make school budgets more transparent

Kudos to Nauset, but the rest must do better
Only Nauset publishes line item budgets/justifications.

School budgets must be more accessible and fulsome online - most are virtually useless

Only Nauset publishes line item budgets/justifications

Amidst the finance kerfuffle in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District, we have been looking at school finance data for all Cape area school districts.

At a time of great financial stress, we find most of our school districts’ websites virtually useless in terms of financial transparency.

Kudos to Nauset

The Nauset Regional School District and its independent elementary school districts provide the most complete financial information. Visit the Nauset Schools’ documents page and you will find draft line item budgets for FY 2015, budgets from past years and even justifications for budget items.

Nauset’s website is a model of financial transparency. The plethora of financial information it provides puts other Cape school districts to shame.

The Rest Must Do Better

Visit the website of any other Cape school district and the best you’ll find is a capsule financial summary or a PowerPoint presentation that offers an overview of the budget process.

In recent months we have heard a loud outcry over DY’s mid-year layoffs, growing concern over the financial viability of the Monomoy Regional School District, town districts “bullying” charter schools over finance, Bourne High School “gutted” by 8th graders fleeing the district, concern over runaway special education costs everywhere, Falmouth facing likely closure of one school, Sandwich moving grade 7 and 8 to its high school and more.

At a stressful time like this, it is incumbent on every school superintendent to follow the lead of Nauset’s Dr. Richard Hoffmann and publish full line-item budgets and justifications on their website.

This information must be available for parents, students and taxpayers to review. It is not sufficient to provide a slide show narrated by a “high priestess” that interprets data the public is not invited to see.

What Can You Do?

As a taxpayer you can email the superintendent in your town’s school district and request a copy of the proposed line item budget for Fiscal 2015.

If you cannot obtain this information, then contact your state representative or senator and ask them to file legislation requiring public schools to publish this data on their website.

Superintendents’ email Addresses:

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