School transparency checklist

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This page outlines the specific criteria used to evaluate the transparency of school district websites. It is a part of a Ballotpedia project which evaluates city, county, school district and state agency websites based on website transparency features.

Read more about the project and the basic checklist applied during this research here.

Taxes Y
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Budget Y
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Meetings P
Elected Officials P
Administrative Officials P
Contracts Y
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Audits N
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Public Records N
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Academics Y
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Background Checks N
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Transparency grading process

Ranking school transparency

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.

Financial transparency

Are the following documents available online and readable with widely available software?

Financial documents

  • Annual budget
  • Check registers
  • Property tax rates (millage)
  • Income or other tax rates

Process-related materials

  • Scheduled board meetings (including committees)
  • Board meeting agendas (including committees)
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Board policies
  • Board contact data
  • Administration contact data

Key budget components

  • Superintendent salary
  • Salary schedule, teachers
  • Union contract(s)
  • Formal board and union proposals in current negotiations

Academic performance documents

  • District "Report Card"
  • Test scores
  • Dropout/graduation rates

Requesting an evaluation

Transparency evaluations are conducted once per quarter, as requested. Please email us to request an evaluation. We do not conduct comprehensive, annual evaluations for all municipalities or school districts.

In your request please include the following:

  • a link to the website
  • links to where the information that will be evaluated (see below list) 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.

See also

External links