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Wichita school district makes transparency effort

Recently USD 259, the Wichita public school district, placed five month’s of checkbook register data on its website. This is a good move, and we should thank the district for doing this.

But we need to remember that the Wichita school district is very late in making this transparency effort, and the district’s past attitudes towards citizens needs to be remembered.

In the past, the district has made this checkbook information available each month. It was made available as a pdf document, which is not nearly as useful as an Excel spreadsheet, which is the format of the most recent months.

Furthermore, the pdf documents would be on the district’s website for less than a week. Board member Lynn Rogers explained that the district didn’t have space on its servers to hold these documents. That explanation is total nonsense, as the pdf documents are a mere fraction of the size of video files that the district hosted on its servers.

That type of misinformation is what citizens have come to expect from Rogers and the rest of the district. Not only misinformation, but hostility towards citizens and their records requests. Rogers has told citizens that records requests are a “burden” on the Wichita school district and interfere with its ability to educate children.

Other frustrations with getting information from the Wichita district and its interim superintendent Martin Libhart led me to conclude, as the title of an article: Wichita School District: Accountability is on Our Terms.

So while citizens should thank the Wichita school district for its recent actions, we’ll have to wait a while to see if the prevailing attitude of hostility towards citizens and their requests for information disappears.

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One Comment

  1. A Nony Moose January 11, 2011

    I work for USD 259 and they waste money all the time! We need total transparency now and forever. With having to cut the 259 budget another 30 million this year, I see a day when all support services (custodial, electrical, plumbing, food service) will and should be fully privatized. Then, hopefully the whole darn shooting match will be privatized. Considering that the majority of the State budget is for education, allowing the private sector to assume the role of providing education to the masses will be a huge cost saving measure!

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