Opinion: Education spending transparency doesn’t require a massive tax hike

From The Tribune (Greeley):  By Ben DeGrow The Independence Institute

Colorado potentially faces a wasted opportunity in undertaking a push for greater school financial transparency. If state leaders talk up transparency as a new project and in vague terms, then they may miss the benefit of lessons already learned and fail to create a genuinely useful online tool.

Part of Amendment 66’s billion-dollar promise was the creation of a website to track nearly every tax dollar collected and spent in K-12 public education. However, an overwhelming majority of voters sent the initiative to the ash heap.

During last week’s State of the State address, Gov. John Hickenlooper divined a message sent by 64 percent of voters. He said they need assurance that the $10,000 spent per student is “prudently managed” before agreeing to add more funds.

“We are going to request that the General Assembly fund a plan to make the budget of every public school transparent,” the governor declared. “Let’s put the numbers on the Internet and make the web a window.”

Giving Coloradans open government should be more than an applause line. Whatever reassurance skeptical voters may need, it’s not because officials have withheld financial information from online disclosure. The question is whether they have done enough.

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