Taylor Votes: HB 659 – K-12 Education Financial Transparency

Tom’s vote: YES

HB 659 requires school systems to make financial information – other than that made specifically confidential by law – available for public access to promote greater transparency in the public school system. Each school and district would send budget information to the Department of Education using uniform reporting standards. This information would then be compiled by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and published on its website. As the General Assembly continues to invest in K-12 education, HB 659 seeks to establish a degree accountability for how local system use this new funding.

This bill, introduced by Rep. Dave Belton, and which I was a co-sponsor of, puts more stringent requirements in reporting educational spending to the state.  This is a statewide bill, but has real impact with DeKalb County Schools, which have refused to report to the State Department of Education for years.

Georgia spends over $16 billion annually on education.  This legislation will ensure that the people of Georgia know how that money is spent, down to the individual school level.  This will force school boards to be much more accountable to the people they represent, and more importantly…pay the bills.