Friday, November 11, 2005

Dist. 15 opens its books

Bravo to Palatine District 15 for opening its books to the public. This great article appeared in the November 11, 2005 addtion of the Daily Herald .

Dist. 15 opens its books

By Nadia Malik

Board agrees to put district documents online and in libraries
In an effort to increase its transparency, the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board agreed Wednesday to place several documents on its Web site.

Teacher salary schedules, the packets the board receives before meetings and a full budget will all be available to the public without having to file a request through the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents will also be available at the Rolling Meadows, Palatine and Barrington public libraries, which all sit in the district’s jurisdiction.

“That allows anybody who doesn’t have a computer … to go into the libraries and examine documents,” board President Scott Boucher said.

The board also recently decided to start taping its meetings, which have been playing on public access television in Hoffman Estates, Palatine and Rolling Meadows. A schedule of the air dates is available on the district’s Web site.

These same tapes will also be placed in all three libraries.

Many of the documents that will be made public played an integral role in the tax-rate increase request the district had on the ballot in February and the board elections in April.

Some residents, for example, took issue with the raises the teachers have received in their past negotiations with the district.

Board vice president Tim Millar asked that an explanation of the teacher salary schedule also be placed on the Web site, since the document is hard to read and caused some questions during the elections.

School improvement plans for each of the district’s 20 buildings and the collective bargaining agreements for all three of the unions the district deals with will also appear both on the Web and in the libraries.

Millar originally brought up the issue at the October board meeting, and Boucher had questioned some parts of the proposal at the time.

On Wednesday, he said that after exploring the issue - including searching other school board Web sites to see what kinds of documents appeared on their site - he felt comfortable with the idea.

“I was making sure that this was talked about before we did it,” he said.

The below message comes directly from the Illinois State Board of Education website.

“Since budget time is once again on the minds of school business administrators, this is a reminder that if your school district has a website, in accordance with Section 17-1.2 and Section 34-43a of the School Code, you are required to post your budget on your school district’s website. To assist you in meeting this requirement, follow the steps below to convert the ISBE 50-36 Budget Form to a .pdf that can easily be posted to your website. This form can be located on the ISBE website.”

If your school district has a website remind them to put the budget online.

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