Letters to the Editor

District makes data available

Because of some concerns and issues regarding transparency with the Georgetown County School District, I am providing the following information to keep the public up to date.

Board meeting issue | A complete school district budget, showing all revenues and expenditures, along with any amendments. The board currently posts only the budget for the General Fund, which represents just 60 percent of the complete district budget.

Response | Presently, the General Fund budget is posted on the district website. We are working to post the rest of the budgets - which represent thousands of pages - by July 1.

Issue | The complete annual district financial statements and audits.

Response | The most current district financial statements and audits are currently posted on the district website.

Issue | Create a check register so taxpayers can review in detail monthly district expenditures. A growing number of cities, towns, counties and school districts are posting online check registers, including the cities of Georgetown and Myrtle Beach, the town of Surfside Beach and Horry County.

Response | We are working to place check registers on the district website by July 1, which is required by the state. This is not an easy process, as previously mentioned. Again, it does take considerable time, effort and personnel to place on the district website and to keep the information up to date.

Issue | All board decision documents for meeting agenda items. The public should be given the same opportunity as board members to review these materials prior to a meeting.

Response | Presently, the board agenda is published and is available on the district website for each meeting the board has (regular board meetings and board work sessions) with the announcement of the public meetings. We also provide the press with available handouts with information days prior to scheduled public meetings for their review, questions and answers. We will be glad to put the agenda, along with the handouts, on the district website, exclusive of personnel and contractual issues that may be private and confidential.

Issue | The minutes of all board meetings so the public can know the details of board deliberations and how board members voted.

Response | Briefings, along with how board members vote on each issue, are presently posted on the district website and sent to all school district employees. We are the only agency to have meetings broadcast live. In an effort to respond to some of the concerns, we would be willing to rebroadcast board meetings and also provide a CD recording of meetings for interested individuals, for the cost of the CD.

The writer is chairman of the Georgetown County Board of Education.