The national movement toward greater transparency of government financial activities affects school districts and other local education agencies, too. Colorado is at the forefront of the movement, but it requires ongoing vigilance by citizens to ensure that school districts truly abide by the spirit of: “If you can’t defend it, don’t spend it!”

In 2010 the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 1036, also known as the Public School Financial Transparency Act. Signed into law by then-Governor Bill Ritter, the Act requires “local education providers” – including school districts, the Charter School Institute, charter schools, and Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) – to post a wide range of financial information online in a free and downloadable format.

The passage of the 2014 Student Success Act (House Bill 1292) included a revamping of K-12 financial transparency requirements. By July 2017 the state is supposed to create and host a website where citizens can compare K-12 expenditures across districts and schools. The website will supersede and replace the requirement for school districts to post financial information on their own sites.

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