News Release: Elite School Districts Join Growing Transparency Trend

Berkley, Grand Blanc and Freeland post check registers

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Contact: Kenneth M. Braun
Policy Analyst
989-631-0900

MIDLAND - Three of the top school districts in the state - Berkley, Grand Blanc and Freeland - have posted their check registers online for taxpayer inspection, according to Kenneth M. Braun, director of the Mackinac Center's "Show Michigan the Money" transparency project. Braun has been encouraging all 551 public school districts in Michigan to regularly provide this data on their Web sites.

"The Freeland Community School District has been posting check registers since February," said Freeland Superintendent Matt Cairy. "We see this as just another way to provide information to those we serve."

Grand Blanc Community Schools Superintendent Mike Newton shares that sentiment. "Our community members deserve to know how their money is being spent," he said.

Grand Blanc has been selected as a "What Parents Want" school district by SchoolMatch, a firm that assists Fortune 500 companies. Berkley in 2008 was rated one of the top districts in the country by Newsweek. All three moderately sized districts are ranked among the top Michigan schools academically based on MEAP scores. The Show Michigan the Money project now lists 40 public school districts statewide that are providing this information on their Web sites, including seven of the top 20 largest in the state. Links to all 40 district checkbook registers are available at www.mackinac.org/9329.

These postings mean that one in six Michigan public school students lives in a district that has posted this information. The Show Michigan the Money Project plans to contact every school district and superintendent directly by the end of the week asking them to post their check registers online.

"Our goal is to make every school district in the state aware of this project," said Braun. "We want to have a large majority of the check registers up on our Web site by the end of 2009." 

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