Stephenson Schools Show Michigan the Money

Small school district among first in Upper Peninsula to post online checkbook

For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Contact: Kenneth M. Braun
Policy Analyst

MIDLAND — The Stephenson Area Public Schools today announced it would post its check register 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.

"When difficult decisions must be made due to the economic conditions, clarity and above-board reporting of spending are more important than ever," said district Superintendent Roger Cole.

The Upper Peninsula district with fewer than 740 students is the second smallest district in Michigan known to be providing an online expenditure report. The smallest known district — Chassell Township Schools — also is in the U.P., about 150 miles north of Stephenson. The Show Michigan the Money project now lists 34 public school districts, including two intermediate school districts, statewide that are providing this information on their Web sites. These include seven of the top 20 largest school districts in the state. Links to all 34 district checkbook registers are available at

"Thomas Jefferson once dreamed of a day when public finances would be as ‘clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books’ and within easy access of everyone," noted Braun. "The leadership shown by the Stephenson schools has put that community on the cutting edge of open government."