Financial Transparency, Can’t Have It Both Ways…

The Independence Institute PRAISED Jeffco just a few years ago on being the leader in the state on FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY. The only thing that has changed was the board majority they supported being recalled by 65% of the community.

Yet, the new candidates who are involved with the Independence Institute want to say that there’s a problem. Can’t have it both ways… Jeffco has been called the most transparent for years and recognized as a leader by partisan organizations on both sides.

What Should School District Financial Transparency Look Like?

IB-2010-A (January 2010)
Author: Ben DeGrow


In 2009 the Colorado General Assembly considered Senate Bill 57, legislation that would have greatly increased transparency in financial reporting for school districts, public charter schools and other local education providers. The bill passed the senate but was defeated by the House Education Committee.

Nevertheless, as the technological capabilities for greater transparency at all levels of government have continued to grow, so has public demand. Resulting in part from the public demand for transparency evidenced in the SB 57 debate, Jefferson County R-1 created its own searchable online financial database. While Jeffco, Colorado’s largest school district, has established itself as a national leader in public education
financial transparency, other Colorado school districts also have made progress in posting detailed expenditure information online: Colorado Springs 11, Durango 9-R, Falcon 49 and Greeley-Evans 6.

Colorados largest school district has become a national leader in transparency by posting detailed spending online for citizens to search. Will the state of Colorado and other government agencies follow the example of Jeffco Public Schools? On this weeks Independent Thinking, Jeffcos chief financial officer Lorie Gillis and Independence Institute policy analyst Ben DeGrow join host Jon Caldara to explore the growing trend of governments opening up their checkbooks.”

We do want to call into your view the misinformation about the district budget and transparency. All candidates should be aware of this information.

Jeffco Schools has been very transparent and, let’s be honest, with so little funding to begin with, there’s not much room for waste. We’ve shared information about how the budget works and we’re still very proud of the work our district staff do to ensure transparency.


Jeffco’s financial transparency website was awarded an “A” by the editors of Sunshine Review. They reviewed more than 6,000 government websites and only 214 were given an “A” rating.

For the 2012 awards, Editors at Sunshine Review analyzed more than 6,000 government websites and graded each on a 10-point transparency checklist. Editors looked at content available on government websites against what should be provided. They sought information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes. The winners of the Sunny Award all received an “A” grade during the extensive grading process.

The district and current board has held numerous town halls, community meetings, and has a variety of committees that regularly explore this subject and have been working very hard to return to transparency following the recall of WNW.

Actually GOING to meetings and looking through the website is a key to understanding finances for our very large district. Learning doesn’t occur by osmosis, you have to participate in the process.

For more information on the district budget and financial transparency, here are a few of the many links to this information:

It’s fine to not understand finance, but all the resources are available to help anyone understand it. After you’ve read the documents, if you don’t understand it, ask!! We’re here, the district financial services staff is always helpful in answering questions, the Financial Oversight Committee and Capital Asset Advisory Committee is available, the District Accountability Committee reviews the budget each year, etc. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions.

What’s not okay is disparaging the board and district without even attempting to get involved or become educated.