As transparent as possible? Really?

In Manatee County, Florida, the school board is looking at deleting $21 million from the school district’s 2008-09 budget. They asked each principal to submit proposed budgets showing where the cuts would come from. As they said prior to April 7:

“All of the information in administrators’ hands has been included on our Web site and our employees and the public has been invited to review and make suggestions.”

But, as of April 18, no such proposals had appeared on the website.

As reported in School Stonewalling, the local newspaper, the Bradenton Herald asked–three times–for the budget cut outlines. When the school district finally handed over the documents on April 18, school administrators said the documents were no longer relevant because the district had already worked things out–obviously, with no public input, since the public didn’t have any idea what was going on. As the paper said,

“We have to wonder if district officials do not want any member of the public – be they teachers, staff, citizen watchdogs or the press – to read some documents for fear of real open discussions on issues before top school officials predetermine and then release their own plan, carved in stone.”

Meanwhile, the school board has scheduled a workshop to review its policy on public records.

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