About half of districts posting financial data

GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. — About half of Michigan's public school districts have complied with a new law requiring them to post financial data online, while about 31 percent have not, a state official told The Flint Journal. An additional 18 percent are in partial compliance.

July 31 was the deadline for school districts to post online such things as total spending, personnel expenditures, lobbying expenses and salaries and benefits for any employee earning six figures or more, The Journal reported.

Glenda Rader, assistant director of the Michigan Department of Education state aid and school finance office, told The Journal that the state is contacting districts that haven't yet posted the numbers, but that no specific consequences are in place for non-compliers.

For example, Google "Grand Blanc Schools" and in three clicks you can learn the director of business affairs and technology made $111,475 in 2009 plus $19,385 in retirement benefits.

"I don't have a problem with that being out there, because it's public information," said Dana Taylor, the director of business affairs and technology in Grand Blanc Schools, told The Journal. Her salary of $111,475, plus $19,385 in retirement benefits, was posted at that district's site.

School officials cautioned that people who review the numbers should take into consideration what programs the district offers, the geographic size of the district and other demographic factors, The Journal said.  Others said that they believe posting the information would help build trust among the public.

The Flint Journal, "New state requirement makes schools post financial data online," Aug. 22, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan School Databases"