News Release: Carman-Ainsworth, Lakeview, Birch Run School Districts Post Checkbooks Online

But spending transparency lacking for residents in West Michigan

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ken Braun
Policy Analyst

MIDLAND - Three more Michigan school districts have joined the fight for greater government transparency by opening their books, according to Ken Braun, director of the Mackinac Center's "Show Michigan the Money" project. Carman-Ainsworth, Battle Creek Lakeview and Birch Run are the latest entries on a growing list of local governments, school districts and politicians embracing this trend.

Braun has been encouraging all 551 public school districts, legislators and every municipality in Michigan to regularly provide this data on their Web sites and he predicts that most of the 50 largest school districts will be posting soon.

"[This] was a reasonable request from the public," said Carman-Ainsworth Superintendent Bill Haley. "As a public service entity, we hope this can be a service [to taxpayers]." 

With these additions, there are now 51 public school districts and two intermediate school districts statewide providing this information on the Internet, including half of the 20 largest districts. More than one in five public school students now attend a district that has an online check register. Links to all school district checkbook registers are available at

Despite these advances throughout the state, Braun said that districts in Kent and Ottawa counties have been conspicuously guarded about their spending details.

"We have been diligently contacting school districts in these West Michigan counties about using 21st century technology to keep taxpayers and parents informed," said Braun. "Unfortunately, unlike the eager and open response we've received throughout the rest of Michigan, these districts have been resistant to transparency."