P E Y T O N   W O L C O T T
h o w   w e   t a k e   b a c k   o u r   c h i l d r e n ' s    e d u c a t i o n  --   o n e   p e r s o n ,   o n e   q u e s t i o n ,   o n e   s c h o o l   a t   a   t i m e

How we take back our children's education:
one person, one question, one school at a time.


Friends, because
there's now so much on
this site--reports,
commentaries, book
excerpts, all designed to
help you bring
improvements to your
local schools--I'm in the
process of preparing
a site map.  Underlining
indicates active links.  
Please check back.


SITE MAP


NEW COMMENTARIES:
RANDOM ROUND-UPS

ACCOUNTABILITY &
OPEN RECORDS ISSUES:

School District
Checks/Check Registers
Online

Connecting the Dots

Pass the Trash

Reader Q & A's

SLAPP
(Strategic Lawsuit
Against Public
Participation)

Transparency Report
____

GOVERNANCE ISSUES:

The American
Superintendency

Team of Eight
____

Arizona
Nogales USD
Pima County Ofc. of Ed.
Santa Cruz County OE

California
Glenn County Ofc. of Ed.
San Francisco USD

Florida
Citrus County PS
Miami-Dade County PS

Michigan
Ann Arbor

New York
New York PS
Roslyn

Ohio
Strongsville PS

Texas
Bremond ISD
Cleburne ISD
Dallas ISD
Eanes ISD
Edgewood ISD
Everman ISD
Houston ISD
Katy ISD
La Joya ISD
Lake Travis ISD
Llano ISD
State Board of Education

____

Edu-Conferences
____

BOOK EXCERPTS:

Education, Inc.

How To File a Public
Records Request

How To Organize

Lax Oversight

____

WHAT OTHER FOLKS
ARE DOING:

MODERN MINUTEMEN

SUCCESS STORIES,
KINDRED SPIRITS
____

COMMENTARY
ARCHIVES
___

SPECIAL REPORTS:

TEXAS LEGE:
TEA POWER GRAB

PAYING FOR TEXAS
PUBLIC EDUCATION:
A PRIMER
____


About/In the News

2006 - Year in Review
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.   We are making such material available in our efforts to
advance understanding of education issues vital to a republic.  We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law.  In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C., Chapter 1, Section 107 which states:  the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any
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If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use" you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.



Separatists in
India's north-eastern
state of Manipur
have
shot six male
teachers in the leg for
allegedly helping
students cheat in exams.

Two women
teachers were beaten
with sticks
for the same offence, the
rebels of the Kanglei Yana
Kan Lup group said.  The
teachers were abducted
from their homes after an
exam on Thursday.  

The rebels said
the teachers
took up to 5,000 rupees
($110) for helping
students cheat
and
warned
of further
punishment if the
cheating continued.  

The Kanglei
Yana Kan Lup (KYKL) is
one of many separatist
groups fighting
Indian administration
in Manipur.  

It said it
abducted the eight
teachers from their
homes in and around the
state capital, Imphal,
because of reports they
had
taken bribes.

--By Subir Bhaumik - BBC
ATTENTION EDUCATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS:
Every attempt possible has been made to verify all sources and information.   In the event you feel an error has been made, please contact us immediately.  Thank you.
Copyright 1999-2007 Peyton Wolcott

My
New
Book


PEYTON WOLCOTT
QUERY
THE SUPE
& THE PR
GUY
DATE FIRST
SENT:   FEB. 14,
2006

RE-SENT 03/26/06

Dear
Strongsville
Superintendent
James Gray:

I'm hoping you can
clear something
up for me for my
book and website
regarding your
standards for
administrative
practices in
Strongsville as
there have been
not one but two
situations this past
year warranting
scrutiny....  

Regarding
special ed
teacher
Christine
Scarlett's

offering a date
with herself as
a grades
incentive

1.    What rules/
guidelines do
you now have in
place to assure
that nothing like
this happens
again?
 Would
these be
administrative
changes or has
your board set
specific policies in
place for you to
follow in future?

2.    
Rumors of
an affair between
Scarlett and
Bradigan
persisted for
several months.  
You have stated
that you have no
idea such an
affair was going
on.  Do you feel

the fact that you
are commuting
from your home
in
Akron (if this
has changed,
please let me
know) has
adversely
impacted your
ability to monitor
what's going on
with your
employees in the
Strongsville
community in an
important and
sensitive area
such as this?  Has
your board since
made a condition
of your
employment that
you move to
Strongsville and
become an
integral part of
their community?

Regarding the
sex education
booklet placed
last fall in young
children's
lockers

4.    What
guidelines did
you follow from
your established
board's policies
for such?  

5.    There
appears to be a
growing number
of parents who
want to be
consulted before
such materials are
given to their
students.  As one
mom put it,
"What's wrong
with so many
people in the
educational fields
that they don't
even think twice
about providing
children with
inappropriate
materials and not
even consider the
parents
wishes....Their
tactics mirror
those used in
Communist China
and Cuba where
children are
considered not
children of
parents, but
wards of the
State."  While this
is clearly the
statement of an
upset parent, it
does raise an
interesting issue
regarding public
school
administrators in
the U.S.  
Do you
consider the
students in
your schools
yours to
educate as you
deem best or
the offspring of
parents to be
consulted
before
disseminating
such materials?

Regarding
trainings and
conferences

6.    Of which
education-relate
d associations
are you and
Strongsville City
Schools a
member?
 What
are these
organizations'
guidelines for
disseminating
such materials?

7.    In which
education-relate
d conferences
have your and
your staff
participated this
past year?  
Where were
they and what
were the costs
for each?   
Have
you attended any
other seminars,
workshops or the
like offering
guidance in this
area, and what
were those costs?

It may well be that
there are perfectly
reasonable
explanations for
your approving
the placing
sex-education
pamphlets in
young students'
lockers without
notifying parents
first, and it may
also well be that
there is a
perfectly
reasonable
explanation for
your allowing a
teacher to offer a
date at the Dairy
Queen with
herself to a young
student; if so, I am
eager to learn
such reason or
reasons.
===============
She said the
booklet, which
also provides
information on the
need for parental
consent for
abortion and a
Web address for
the Lesbian/Gay
Community
Service Center of
Greater
Cleveland, is
inappropriate for
11-year-olds.  I
believe some sex
education needs
to be given, but
when subjects are
discussed or
material is given
to kids of this
nature, a notice
should be sent
home to the
parent and they
should be allowed
to opt out of the
program if they
wish, Fleming
said.  School
Superintendent
James Gray said
he gave an OK for
the pocket-sized
directories, which
were provided to
the district by
United Way
Services in
conjunction with
the county health
department and
county
commissioners,
to be given to
students at the
high school,
middle schools
and to sixth
graders.  Gray
said he received
two calls from
parents who took
exception to the
booklet's content.  
I understand that
and probably, in
retrospect, I
should have
considered
sending a letter
along with it as far
as an explanation,
he said, adding,
this is a
developing
situation. I don't
know what we are
going to do at this
point.  Colleen
Grady, a city
resident and a
member of the
state school
board, said she
got calls from four
parents
concerned about
their children
getting the
directory.  Grady,
who is also a
former city school
board member,
said she has not
personally seen
the publication,
but they (parents)
read me sections
over the
telephone.  She
said the state
board of
education may
wish to make a
legislative
recommendation
to the Ohio
general
assembly, and the
board could also
consider
discussion about
adoption of a
model policy for
the distribution of
such materials.  
Gray said there
will be continued
discussion, in the
district's
curriculum and
pupil services
departments on
whether to curtail
distribution of
materials which
are considered to
be sensitive,
particularly for the
younger kids.
STATUS:
One year
later, no
response
rec'd from
Sup't Gray
QUOTES
QUERY
THE SUPE
(& CC THE
BOARD)

N E W
When sending your email,
please in the subject line
include some reference to
your msg. such as name
of school district, issue.  
Why: increasing spam
levels.  If you don't hear
from me in 2-3 days,
please resend with a bit
more information in the
subject line.  Thank you.

CONTACT:
Peyton Wolcott
P.O. Box 9068
Horseshoe Bay, TX  78657
peyton@peytonwolcott.com

Want to subscribe to my
newsletter?  
Send an email
marked "Subscribe."
F o c u s i n g
o n
accountability
f i r s t
TEA's check
register:

Online
School
District
Check
Registers
Here
here
here

Modern Edu-
Monopoly
(mike moses)
here

Random
Round-Ups
Here

2006 - Year
in Review
here

Nov.-Dec.
2006
commen-
taries
here

Pass the
Trash
here

SLAPP
reports here
and here

Reader
Q&As

Edgewood
ISD

95 Questions
Conservative Commentary
CONTACT
"Superintendents and school
boards would have to be
willing to be perceived as
being anti-open government
and anti-transparency to
turn down your request that
they post their check
registers online."

KEY
POINT:

"Superin-
tendents and
school
boards
would have
to be willing
to be
perceived as
being
anti-open
government
and anti-
transparency
to turn down
your request
that they
post their
check
registers
online."

--Peyton Wolcott




Mr. Gorbachev,
tear down
this wall.


--President
Ronald Reagan
www.tea.state.
tx.us/tea/Check
Register.html
Being a brief account of the short history of The National School District Honor Roll's voluntary online check register project


ONLY 9
EASY
STEPS
TO ACCESS
DALLAS ISD'S
CHECK
REGISTER
ONLINE:

STEP 1
START HERE:
www.dallasisd.org

STEP 2
ON THE LEFT
(GREY BOX
'QUICKLINKS')
CHOOSE:
Board of
Trustees

STEP 3
YOU'LL SEE 2
GREY LINES
OF TYPE;
FROM 2nd
LINE
CHOOSE:
Meeting
Agendas

STEP 4
SCROLL
DOWN; FOR
THE MOST
RECENT
CHECK
REGISTER
CHOOSE THE
MOST
RECENT
"BOARD
BRIEFINGS"
------
STEP 5
CHOOSE:
FEB. 8, 2007

STEP 6
FIND
"Briefing
Meeting -
February 8,
2007 11:30AM
     
STEP 7  
CLICK ON:
"
AGENDA
PACKET
"

STEP 8
SCROLL
DOWN TO
4. FINANCIAL
SERVICES
(Business
Services
Division)  
b.  Ratification
of List of Bills,
Claims and
Accounts for
Demember 1,
2006 to
December 31,
2006
($74,044,519.08)

STEP 9
CLICK ON
"
BillsClaims_
Attachment
"

VOILA!  
YOU'VE JUST
ACCESSED
DALLAS ISD'S
CHECK
REGISTER IN
ONLY 9
--COUNT 'EM,
9--
EASY STEPS!
New Reader
Q & A's here

A second look at
Katy ISD's software
developer Xpediant
Leonard Merrell's
choice of technology
consultants was
Xpediant, LLC, which
had to change its name
after it was reported on
this website on April 17,
2006 that "according to
sources within the Texas
Secretary of State's office
this morning, Xpediant,
LLC, 'in our world here
doesn't have an active
entity status' and has
been in a state of
forfeiture since February
13, 2003 because 'they
didn't do their state
franchise taxes,' with the
result that Xpediant 'has
no entity status and no
liability shield.'  
Xpediant's 2003 return
has not yet been
received, making it
almost three years
overdue."  

Alas.  When Xpediant's
owners went to fix things
in Austin, they
discovered their
no-longer- viable
company's name had
been taken by someone
else, so they had to find
a new name.

Mon.,
Feb. 26, 2007
9:46 am
update:

Here's the URL
for DISD's most
recent checks
online--I've
activated the link
several times
this past week,
but it still doesn't
work; apparently
DISD wants its
parents and
taxpayers to
follow all 9 of the
above steps.  
After being
contacted by
media outlets in
the DFW area,
have this
morning
contacted
DISD
PR guy Celso
Martinez
for an update.

www.boardbook.
org/apps/bbv2/te
mp/FEA97082-E7
FF-035D-147A76
7667FA7F25.pdf
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Katy ISD supe Leonard Merrell's self-named
"Leonard E. Merrell Center" (above) at Katy
ISD bears his name not once but twice,
the only such edifice in the U.S. which a
working supe has named for himself.

Armand
Fusco's
'13 Guiding
Principles'

1. Assume that
fraud, theft, and
embezzlement are
occurring—
look for it.

2. Assume that
mismanagement
exists—
look for it.

3. Assume that
there is waste in
the system—
look for it.

4. Assume that
financial
management
controls are
inadequate—
constantly review
and tighten the
process.

5. Assume that
staff has not been
properly trained
and educated in
budget
management—
provide on-going
training particularly
for key personnel.

6. Assume that
there are
employees who
know where there
is fraud, waste, and
mismanagement—
encourage,
reward, and
resolutely protect
“whistle-blowers.”

7. Assume that
any report or
information dealing
with financial
matters does
not provide
sufficient details—
seek more details.

8. Assume that
board policies are
not being
implemented
properly—
ask for
progress reports.

9. Assume that
audits do not
uncover fraud—
insist on
forensic auditing.

10. Accept the
fact that board
members lack the
skills and
knowledge
required to
effectively monitor
the budget—
provide them with
information and
training.

11. Accept the fact
that vigilance
must be constant—
good enough is
never good
enough.

12. Accept the fact
that board
members must
have easy access
to detailed
information and
data that are used
to develop
financial reports
and monitor
progress—
seek to develop
meaningful
reporting systems.

13. Accept the fact
that decisions
made by the board
will be scrutinized
by the staff and
the public to see if
their financial
rhetoric to protect
school dollars from
fraud, waste and
mismanagement is
matched against
its actions—
weigh every
discretionary
decision carefully
for consistency and
common-sense.

--From "School
Corruption: Betrayal
of Children and the
Public Trust"
by Armand A. Fusco
"How to ask
your board"

here
and here
March 6, 2007
Update
Jessica's
Law in Texas
Hardcore child
molesters could
face the death
penalty in Texas
under a bill given
preliminary
approval today by
the state House of
Representatives.
The bill is designed
to crack down on
sex offenders who
repeatedly prey on
children. The
House voted to
create a new
category of crime,
continual sexual
abuse of a young
child or children. It
carries a minimum
of 25 years to life in
prison and possibly
the death penalty
for a second
offense. The Texas
version [of Jessica's
Law] would make
the Lone Star State
the sixth to allow
some child sex
offenders to be
sentenced to
death....The bill
also removes the
statute of
limitations for many
sex crimes against
children, including
indecency with a
child and
aggravated sexual
assault. The current
limit to bring
charges is 10 years
after the victim's
18th birthday.
Redbuds blooming
Texas Capitol
Austin
UNBELIEVABLE BUT TRUE

AASA - American
Association of School
Administrators

ASA - Association of
School Administrators

CSD - Consolidated
School District

DOE - Department
of Education

ES - Elementary School

HS - High School

ISD -  Independent
School District

JHS - Junior High School

MS - Middle School

MSM - Mainstream media

NSBA - National School
Boards Association

NSPRA - National School
Public Relations Association

PS - Public School(s)

SBEC - State Board for
Educator Certification

SD - School District

Sup't - Superintendent

TAKS - Texas Assessment
of
Knowledge & Skills

TASA - Texas Association
of School Administrators

TASB - Texas Association
of School Boards

TASBO - Texas Association
of  School Business Officials

TEA - Texas
Education Agency

TEKS - Texas Essential
Knowledge & Skills

USD - UnifiedUnited School
District
For most parents, the phrase,
"We're broke," means cutting
back on discretionary
spending such as stays at
luxury hotels.  Further,
examples of such needless
extravagances rub salt in the
wounds of those budgeting
hard to pay their taxes to fund
their schools.

65% SOLUTION IN TEXAS
Enter Overstocks.com founder
Patrick Byrne's First Class
Education which proposed that
65% of all education dollars be
spent in the classroom.  Texas
Governor Rick Perry's signing
of Executive Order RP 47 in
August 2005 was the first such
among the fifty states requiring
that Texas schools move
towards spending at least 65%
of their budgets in the
classroom; the formula
referenced came from the
National Center for Education
Statistics (NCES).  

Enter Texas superintendents
who had gotten used to not
much oversight over their
spending, primarily since the
passage of then-state Senator
Bill Ratliff's so-called
education reforms in 1995
which had stripped local
school boards of their power
and given it to their
superintendent.  Enter the
Texas Association of School
Boards' "Team of Eight"
training -- most Texas school
boards have seven members
-- which elevated the
superintendents a pay grade to
"teammate" from "employee,"
suddenly on a par with the
elected school board
members.  You do not hold a
fellow teammate accountable
the same way you do an
employee.  School trustees
were told not to
"micromanage" but instead to
allow their superintendent to
take care of all administrative
details including how the
money got spent.

Oops.

So in this climate of
superintendents-as-kings,
rather than follow Perry's
directive to use the NCES
formula, Texas edu-missioner
Shirley Neeley invited
superintendents to help write a
new version of the NCES
formula, which they did.  
NOW BETTER THAN
THREE YEARS FROM NOW
Because 2010 is three years
away, and a lot of public money
will have flown under public
school bridges by then, it
occurred to me last fall that a
way to speed up the process
would be to persuade and
encourage school districts to
post their check registers online
-- voluntarily, well ahead of any
legal requirements.

Birth of the National School
District Honor Roll:  Oct. 1, 2006
When I started the National
School District Honor Roll on
October 1, 2006 on my website
(www.peytonwolcott.com), it
was with the names of only four
small districts I'd found who
were already posting their
checks online.  

Dallas, then Spring Branch,
then TEA, then Houston
Dallas ISD, our second largest
district in the state, came online
Nov. 2, then Spring Branch ISD
just before Thanksgiving.

We got a tremendous jumpstart
when Governor Perry, having
heard about this grassroots
movement, required the Texas
Education Agency (like
Departments of Education in
other states) to post its checks
online which it did starting
Feb. 1, 2007.

TEA's check register
All $11.26 billion of TEA's
checks for the previous five
months are online now; you can
see a small $43
reimbursement check to TEA's
lawyer situated very near a total
of almost a quarter-billion in
payments to Dallas ISD.  That
same week I heard about
Houston ISD (Texas' largest
district) which had announced
its intention to come online
voluntarily ahead of schedule.
And many small and mid-sized
districts also, such that as of
today 22 Texas districts are
either online or in the process,
with the result that $25.2 billion
in total state edu-spending can
be looked at online on a
check-by-check basis.*  

Examples of possible
online checks
You can see $82 to Mark's
Plumbing, $4,000 to American
Master Visa for the supe's most
recent luxury hotel stay at an
edu-conference, and $378,655
to Worthless Reading Program
for costs associated with
introducing the program
including books, study guides,
manipulatives, and trainings for
teachers and administrators so
they can implement WRP--until
their district's supe comes back
from the next edu-conference
with a bigger, better and more
expensive new worthless
edu-program.  
Arlington ISD
0.633605579***
0.631155223

Big Spring ISD
0.596351552
0.600303247

Blackwell ISD
0.539384206
0.550149374

Bremond ISD
0.58668739
0.598254839

Dallas ISD
0.588089076
0.581077643

Galena Park ISD
0.596365256
0.602403785

Houston ISD
0.60286458
0.587588341

Katy ISD
0.62046751
0.627618034

Keller ISD
0.626915329
0.615378206

Lovejoy ISD
0.592785318
0.499371052

Malakoff ISD
0.631413532
0.630248907

Marble Falls ISD
0.562927579
0.563153927

McKinney ISD
0.611053272
0.613080371

Nederland ISD
0.593926858
0.587033797

New Caney ISD
0.579392974
0.583876266

Richardson ISD
0.616448138
0.636082354

San Angelo ISD
0.617589603
0.607650375

Spring Branch ISD
0.601313426
0.613790562

Temple ISD
0.590685041
0.582327421

Ysleta ISD
0.604524154
0.598531846
___________________
*
As of March 31, 2007

** Above information
provided by the Texas
Education Agency; 65%
using NCES definition,
functions 11, 36, 93 and 95

*** 1st line:   2004-2005
2nd line:  2005-2006
History of the voluntary online school district check register
project:  "The National School District Honor Roll"
By Peyton Wolcott - Copyright 2007
Updated Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 9:01 a.m.
From a Horseshoe Bay, Texas laptop to
proposed state legislation in six months--
time to celebrate!
How I came
to start this
project
When a 'Loophole' is not
o  Eight years
ago we returned
to Texas;

Horseshoe Bay
is in the heart of
the Hill Country,
an hour
northwest of
Austin and ninety
minutes north of
San Antonio.

o  Marble Falls
ISD or Llano ISD?
We sent our
daughter to
nearby Marble
Falls High
School rather
than our own
school district,
Llano ISD,
because MFHS
was 15 minutes
away versus 35
minutes for LHS,
and paid
out-of-district
fees to do so.

o  I became an
active volunteer
at MFHS--
PTO secretary,
founded the
Chorale
Boosters, made
soup, did
xeroxing, etc.  

o  As an active
volunteer you
notice things
the
average parent
wouldn't.  Plus
there were some
unfortunate
scandals
occurring at that
time.

o  First TPIA
request
When I
submitted my
first Texas Public
Information Act
request--too
broadly
written--to
MFISD, the
then-supe
presented me
with a bill for
$426; wondered
afterwards why
she supe hadn't
instead invited
me in for a
friendly chat.

o  TSPR audit
Began lobbying
for
then-Comptroller
Carole Strayhorn
to bring the best
accountability
tool available at
that time, the
Texas School
Performance
Review, to
MFISD--despite
strenuous
objections by the
then-MFISD
admin. and
then-board.
Carole
announced the
MFISD TSPR
audit on Dec. 10,
2002.

o  Helped
organize first
group - PEAK$
Because of our
concerns about
dress code
violations and
rumors about
drug use at
MFHS, we
formed a loose
organization and
got our new
dress code and
drug dogs.  
When the
then-supe, who
insisted we had
no drug
problems, failed
to get the high
weeds mowed
down out in back
for the Ag
building, some
parents took
direct action and
did it themselves.

o  Problems
surfacing in
Llano ISD
Meanwhile, back
at the ranch,
Llano ISD's
then-supe Jack
Patton had been
arrested over the
receipt for a
pricey restaurant
tab at a
TASA/TASB
convention; he
eventually
became Texas'
first Public
Information Act
conviction.  

o  Out of
retirement
Because Llano
ISD is where our
property taxes
were going, I
began reading
about the
problems with
Patton in our
local paper.  
When the
reporter's byline
suddenly
disappeared and
the feisty little
paper began
publishing what
appeared to be
PR rather than
news, I picked up
the phone, called
the editor, and
suddenly found
myself covering
education news
for the local
group of
weeklies and so
I did.

o  LISD CFO's
"Oops"
When the CFO,
who was a CPA,
came to LISD
board meetings
without having
balanced the
district's
checkbook, I
reported.  Ditto
for the CFO's
distributing
financial change
pages in the
middle of board
meetings.  Ditto
for the financial
errors the CFO
discovered
mid-report to the
board. The
"oops" became
headlines.

(MORE COMING)
POSIT:  Texas school districts
already posting their check
registers online voluntarily are
taking advantage of a loophole.

FACT:  According to F.I.R.S.T.
rules, the option of posting their
check registers online for failing to
meet the 65% formula is not
available until the year 2010--three
years from now.   
(Continued below)
TEA'S 65% TASK FORCE
The resulting formula is big
enough to drive a pickup truck
filled with either cash or copper
tubing through.

Here's the step progression for
its implementation:  55% by
this school year, 60% by
2007-08, and 65% by 2008-09.  
A possible out for those
districts failing to make their
steps was to post their check
register (checkbook) online,
meaning most districts would
not be required to post until at
the earliest 2009 or 2010 (see
the list in the pink box at right),
with the presumable intent of
shaming them into efficiency.  
Again, because of the
generosity of the formula, the
mark most districts would
miss -- if they missed at all --
would be 65% and the earliest
they'd therefore legally  be
required to post their check
registers online would be 2010.
TEA 65% Task Force hearing
October 2005, Austin
FROM GRASSROOTS TO
PROPOSED LEGISLATION IN
SIX MONTHS
Texas representative Bill Zedler
of Arlington heard about the
success of this grassroots
movement and has introduced
legislation (HB 2560) which
would require all Texas school
districts to post their check
registers online starting Sept. 1,
2007 regardless of where they
are in the 55-60-65
progression.  

Said Zedler recently, "I think
school districts' posting their
check registers online is a great
idea.  I feel the more
transparency we have, it makes
us all better at what we're
supposed to do because it
makes us more accountable.  I
was glad to learn that one of my
own districts, Arlington ISD, is
about to go online."  Regarding
a planned change to the bill in
the form of a committee
substitute, Zedler commented,
"This bill will not create or give
people a loophole.   Posting
checks online will not be used
as a reason to not reach the
65% mark," and added, "It's
important for the trustees and
taxpayers to know exactly how
the money is being spent."

I have been invited to testify on
behalf of this bill in Austin; at
least a half-dozen volunteers in
this movement will be testifying
also.  Most are or have been
trustees in their home school
districts and all are traveling to
Austin on their own dime.

MOTIVE:  LOOPHOLE--THE
RIGHT THING TO DO?
Why have so many districts
voluntarily posted online?  

Although it's been theorized that
school districts posting online,
the numbers at right furnished
last week by the Texas
Education Agency show this is
far from true; in fact, of those
districts posting online
voluntarily, only one would have
been required to do so--and
that district not until next year.

By posting their check registers
online public school districts
are giving the keys to the
sausage factory to their parents
and taxpayers.  

Some sausage is really great,
and some needs a new
production line.
Texas state representative
Bill Zedler
BACKGROUND
As expenses continue to
skyrocket in our public schools
while at the same time our
vendor-driven curriculums
decline, we have the result that
our kids aren't being well
educated and it's costing a lot
more money to do it.

Parents in many states,
especially Texas, have this
past decade begun filing public
records requests to find out
what can be done in their own
local schools to control costs,
many times these requests
triggered by visible incidences
of waste and extravagance.  
One example would be
superintendent Nola Wellman
in the Austin suburbs; "We're
broke," she told a TV news
reporter -- at about the same
time two moms who have been
investigating the district's
finances and other records
found receipts for items such
as Wellman's stay at the
Adolphus, a luxury hotel in
Dallas.
WHICH IS IT?
Texas supe Nola Wellman
(right) telling Channel 8 TV
reporter "We're broke"--
while staying at luxury hotels
such as Dallas's Adolphus
Small-town Texas school
board meeting--where it's
legal for trustees to do
bidness with their district
Texas Education Agency
Austin, Texas
TEXAS
FINANCIAL
ACCOUNTABILITY RATING
SYSTEM

There's a phase-in period for the
65% rule here in Texas:

o  2006-07:  55%
o  2007-08:  60%
o  2008-09   65%

According to the cite from TEA
below, no Texas school districts
have the option of posting their
check registers online because
they failed to meet the 65%
in-the-classroom mark until 2010.

Here's the cite from TEA:

Attachment II - Text of Adopted
Amendment to 19 TAC

Chapter 109. Budgeting,
Accounting, and Auditing

Subchapter AA. Commissioner's
Rules Concerning Financial
Accountability Rating
System

§109.1002. Financial
Accountability Ratings.

(a) (2) (D)  A district that does
not meet the 65% instructional
expenditure standard (Indicator
13)[16)] may publish on their
website their check register
(excluding their payroll register)
and their yearly payroll
expenditure and receive full credit
(3 [(5] points) for this indicator.
The district must notify the TEA
within the 30-day review process
that they have posted their
register on the district's website
and provide the website address
to receive credit for this indicator.
More here:
www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/commi
ssioner/adopted/0706/ch109aa-t
wo.pdf
QUESTION:  How is doing
something voluntarily in 2006 or
2007 -- three to four years ahead
of schedule -- taking advantage of
a loophole which would not apply
until 2010?
Texas school districts
already posting online
*
(55-60-65 progression) **