“§1508. Citizen Oversight of District Finances.
The Department of Education shall promulgate regulations by November 1, 2009 establishing procedures for appointment of citizen budget oversight committees for each of the public school districts and charter schools. These committees shall have full access either electronically or in hard copy format to all financial documents and financial information in the possession of the school districts they are assigned to oversee, with redactions permitted only to protect confidential personal information regarding students or employees. Oversight committees shall have representation from parents, educators, and taxpayers residing in each of the public school districts, and shall contain at least two members with formal educational or vocational backgrounds amenable to oversight of school district financial statements. The Department of Education shall provide training to committee members. The Department shall also promulgate regulations by November 1, 2009 dictating uniformity and transparency in the financial recording and bookkeeping practices of the school districts and charter schools.
§ 1509. Transparency of District Finances.
Each district and charter school shall post on its web site by September 1, 2009 and every three months thereafter a check register indicating the recipient of each check issued by the school district or charter school, the amount of the check, and identifying information regarding the check sufficient to permit members of the public to seek additional information regarding the payment in question. The only information excepted from inclusion in this database shall be records that would not constitute public records under 29 Del. C. § 10002(g), and records for which the disclosure would violate any federal or state law.
Though Governor Markell executive mandate mandating all state agencies checkbooks online, HB 119 adds more permanency. An executive order can be reversed by the governor or the next governor at will without a legislative vote. Also, I am not so sure if this executive order incuded checks issued by local school districts using local funds aka non state allocated funding. However, HB 119 specifies “each check issued by the school district or charter schools”. In Red Clay’s case, Red Clay has a Community Financial Review Committee which does not operate under the definition citizenoversight committee defined in this legislation. Red Clay CFRC provides more meaningful detailed financial data than any school district or charter school in the state of Delaware. However, from experiencetrying to specific detailed data on particulars was like pulling teeth or play Where’s Waldo. I sat when a committee member asks for data the response from the districts shouldn’t be why or explanation to avoid providing data. As charter schools in most cases provide vague monthy report where in many cases reports are months behind. I hope DOE and community plays close attention to the finances Odyssey Charter Schools detailed financial reports. I honestly smell a big $$$$$ rat. The State Auditor needs to wake up and smell the coffee on this school and complete and extensive detailed audit.
Governor Markell will be signing HB 119 this Thursday and the big question will be, will the school districts and charter schools actually comply by September 1 ?
If the community really cares about public education and charter schools they need to keep the heat on these schools districts and charter schools to comply with the law and take time to reveiw and question the finanical data. Failure of public schools including charter schools are a direct result of poor and limited involvement of the public.
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