State Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) voted this week to pass a bill which would provide Pennsylvania taxpayers greater access to information on public school spending.
Heffley is a co-sponsor of House Bill 1411, which would create the Public School Web Accountability and Transparency (SchoolWATCH) Act.
"This new system is modeled on PennWATCH, which gives taxpayers a good idea of how their money is being spent by the state," said Heffley. "We're entrusting our school districts not only with the education of our children but also with the spending of millions dollars in school property taxes and state funding every year. With such great responsibility, I believe they should be held to a very high standard of accountability and transparency."
The bill, if eventually signed into law, would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create a user-friendly, online database detailing the revenues and expenditures of the state's traditional, charter and cyber school districts. Implementation of the website and reporting requirements for school districts would be phased in over time to prevent additional cost and administrative burden to school districts. Existing public school reports are used to avoid duplicate reporting.
In addition, an amendment to the bill directs PDE to develop data linking student academic performance to school spending.
The bill now awaits consideration in the Senate.