News Release: Romeo Community Schools and Chippewa Valley School District Post Check Registers Online

Bond-seeking Utica Community Schools should follow example of pro-transparency neighbors, according to director of “Show Michigan the Money” Project

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 9, 2009

Kenneth M. Braun
Policy Analyst

MIDLAND - Officials from the Romeo Community Schools and the Chippewa Valley School District, both in Macomb County, said they will soon place their check registers online for taxpayer inspection after being requested to do so by Kenneth M. Braun, director of the Mackinac Center's ongoing "Show Michigan the Money" transparency project.

"Fiscal accountability is a key to gaining our community's trust," said Jennifer White, secretary of the Romeo Board of Education, explaining why she voted for the online checkbook. "Bottom line here is making sure the taxpayer dollars are getting to the classroom; our kids' future depends on it, and our community can help us achieve this."

On Jan. 6, Braun challenged every school district in Macomb County to provide an online check register. The Romeo school board's decision, which passed by a 4-3 vote, followed one month later.

"Putting the check registers online was one of several moves the new school board has taken in an effort to promote open government and transparency," noted White, who said she believes the election of two new board members in November 2008 made the changes possible. "These huge steps for Romeo were not made without opposition."

Chippewa Valley last week signaled its intention to place its check register online when Superintendent Mark Deldin told the school board he planned to have the information posted by March 17.

"These two districts showed that 21st century transparency is easily attained if officials care about that goal," said Braun. "Every other Macomb school district can and should follow their example."

He noted that Utica Community Schools should be next to take the transparency plunge, as it is surrounded on three sides by districts that have already decided to create online check registers: Romeo, Chippewa Valley and the Rochester Community Schools.

"Utica will be asking its taxpayers to approve a $112.5 million bond on May 5," noted Braun. "What better time for them to show those taxpayers the checkbook?"