Citizens deserve the right to know the inner- workings of their government, and public institutions; which includes our school districts. This is an important feature of school and community relations because school boards are elected locally to ensure that the schools in that community are governed and operated properly both fiscally and academically. This is why it is admirable that the State of Arkansas has determined that each school district within that state should ensure that each district website include;
“(A) Minutes of regular and special meetings of the school board;
(B) The budget for the ensuing year;
(C) Financial breakdown of monthly expenses of the district;
(D) Salary schedule for all employees;
(E) The school district’s yearly audit; and
(F) The Annual Statistical Report.” –
Furthermore, since school districts rely on public funding, school boards and districts should be accountable to the public for how they spend district funds, and regularly publish these item for the public to access.
I juxtapose my findings from Arkansas with those in my local community in Florence, South Carolina, and found that we also have state regulations that govern what information must be transparent to the community. This information can be found in the South Carolina Education Finance Act of 1977; which requires school districts to compile a transparency report that features; school board minutes, district financial statements, and district expenditures (South Carolina Education Finance, 2014). According to my school district website, this report is featured for the public to easily access, and obtain a copy for their review.
With this in mind, I interviewed the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, the director of the district public relations , and the Superintendent of Florence One School District; in these interviews, I found that these officials on behalf of the school district truly attempts to ensure that the district is transparent and open with the public. In my interview with Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Allie Brooks, I discovered that past and present school board minutes are posted on our district website. These minutes are normally one month behind because before they are posted the school board must approve them; however all school board meeting agendas are posted and up to date. At these meetings, Dr. Brooks regularly reports on community issues, and advocates for his different community relations goals and initiatives. However, he did acknowledge that sometimes the board does not follow the appropriate chain of command when dealing with community and public issues because they are such active members within the community. Furthermore, he acknowledged that the board regularly visits the schools; meeting with school administrators, teachers, and students; they often help lobby agencies and other governmental groups to ensure that the district is compiling with all governmental regulations. In his opinion, he feels...