Tuesday, May 6, 2008

So Where Is The CCSD Budget?

The Clarke County School District’s budget for FY 2009 (or 2008-09 as the District typically terms such things) goes into effect a mere eight weeks from today.

So why is this a problem? Because, as of this morning, there is absolutely nothing on the District’s web site about the budget, absolutely nothing about the public hearings on the budget mandated by state law, and absolutely nothing about the District’s proposed millage rate. Nor has there been anything in the Banner-Herald about these matters in its coverage of the Board of Education.

According to the HTML version of the agenda for last Thursday’s agenda setting session that was on the District’s web site, the Board was slated to discuss the budget and millage rate proposed for 2009, though the PDF version of the agenda and supporting materials made no mention of either. Now, however, even those no longer can be found. What gives?

If past practice is any indication, even when the budget is made “public,” it will be available only in a summarized and incomplete form. So just how is the public expected to make informed judgments on the budget when it has no meaningful access to it.

I give the Unified Government a hard time on a variety of issues, deservedly so in my opinion, but this is one area in which City Hall gets high marks. Though I think they spend far too much on questionable expenditures, the folks behind the rail have their full budget available for public inspection at a variety of places around the community, have the document on its web site, and have published the schedule for its public hearings.

Why can’t the District do the same? And no, the answer is not that it lacks the money to do so.

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