Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Transparency in Education Stimulus Money

– Don’t hold your breath

The Education Week newspaper reports (subscription) that it is proving difficult to track the first round of education stimulus money now flowing out of Washington.

So far, Ed Week says most state “recovery” Web sites contain no information about actual funds that have flowed to them from the federal government.

Furthermore, the US Department of Education has decided that “not everything stimulus related must be transparent.” Ed Week says, “That decision comes despite the department’s own guidelines governing the stabilization fund, which state: ‘From the date that a state first submits its application for funding, … the department will make information publicly available regarding a state’s implementation of the program.’”

So, based on the Ed Week report, an administration’s promise of transparency has been broken.

Of course, tracking school money in Kentucky is going to be especially hard. Our chaotic MUNIS education finance system remains on the priority “back burner” for the department of education’s limited IT staff, and it is uncertain if many of the MUNIS problems have been resolved at this point.

Of course, you cannot track money without a decent accounting system. Maybe that’s why the General Accountability Office in DC is going to closely track stimulus money in 16 states as the stimulus money gets distributed, but Kentucky isn’t among them.

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