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Relating to the disclosure of certain public information by a public school district.
SB 902 would add a section to Chapter 552 of the Government Code, which concerns public information. This bill would require the financial records of a school district to be public information. Specifically, a school district would be required to disclose the control files of a database that are used to record financial information.
However, this legislation makes a few exceptions for information that a school district may not disclose to the public. A district would not have to disclose addresses and phone numbers nor a person’s social security information. Lastly, it would not have to disclose any documents pertaining to an informer who has made statements regarding the violations committed by another person.
A key facet of our limited government principle is transparency. If a government entity is not transparent to the people it serves, then the people have little means of monitoring how that government body is using tax payer money.
According to the author’s statement of intent, the accounting system for school districts lacks transparency. Accounting records are usually hard to obtain because the school systems employ various methods of denying or redacting critical information. Moreover, the information that is provided does not offer a clear explanation of how the district spends its money.
We support SB 902 because it increases the transparency of school districts, which is good for our limited government principle. It would require a school district to disclose important accounting documents and to do so “in the most efficient and cost-effective manner practicable."