School transparency checklist
Read more about the project and the basic checklist applied during this research here.
|Transparency grading process|
Ranking school transparency
According to Sunshine Review, an ideal school transparency checklist should meet at least two criteria: inclusion of relevant information and interpretation of data whose meaning or importance is not self-evident. Bonus points might be awarded for trend data (e.g., on tax increases in recent years) or benchmarks and cross-district patterns (e.g., tax and salary data for nearby districts or test scores from districts with similar demographics. The following features should be available online and readable with widely available software.
|Transparency checklist parameters explained|
|Checklist parameter||School district website features|
|Budgets||Annual budget, check registers and superintendent salary.|
|Open meeting laws||Board and committee meeting schedules and agendas, meeting minutes, board policies, board and administrative contact information.|
|Elected officials||List of school board president, members and superintendent.|
|Administrative officials||Contact information for school district administrative officials.|
|Building permits and zoning||Not applicable|
|Audits||Information about regular financial and performance audits.|
|Contracts||Contracts and bids with a union, vendor or supplier, as well as teacher contracts and pay schedules. Formal board and union proposals in current negotiations.|
|Public records||Information for filing a FOIA request.|
|Taxes||Property tax rates (millage), income or other tax rates.|
|Other||Academics: district "report card," test scores, dropout and graduation rates.|
|Other||Background checks: information about the school district's policies regarding background checks of employed staff.|
Requesting an evaluation
Transparency evaluations are conducted upon request. Please email us to request an evaluation. Ballotpedia does not conduct comprehensive, annual evaluations for all municipalities or school districts.
In your request please include the following:
- a link to the website, and
- links to where the information (see checklist parameters) that will be evaluated can be found on the website.
Comments or questions
If you find that any of the information that is posted on your government entity's website is false, not up-to-date, or has been taken down please send an email to let us know. We will review the information and evaluate if the government entity's score needs to be adjusted.
- White House,"Transparency and Open Government"
- Sunlight Foundation, "List of transparency websites"
- Open Congress,"Useful websites for state government transparency"