Gov. Hickenlooper wants to put school budgets online

From The Washington Post: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) will push the state legislature next year to publish details of every dollar earmarked for public education, a move he says would create the country’s most transparent spending system.

“So far, no state’s ever had total transparency on how their tax dollars are spent to every school,” Hickenlooper said in a recent interview. “So you can create a Web site where every dollar to every school every day is tracked. How much goes to the teacher, how much goes to their pension, how much goes to the bureaucracy, how much goes to maintaining the facility. Really focus on making each school an enterprise.”

Most states disclose how much money goes to school districts, and many publish details like teacher and administrator salaries, building and construction costs. But half of states only report per-pupil expenditures, a number that leaves out costs like capital expenditures, according to a survey published earlier this year by the libertarian Cato Institute. Ten states don’t publish data on employee salaries, while 41 states don’t provide information on benefits, the Cato report found.

The Cato report gave high marks to just two states — New Mexico and South Dakota — for school spending transparency. Colorado earned a D+ grade.

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