Best Practices in a Small District: Hart ISD
Hart ISD, a relatively small school district in the Texas Panhandle, has posted both its budget and check register online for more than a year. The district Web site now includes a budget summary and monthly check registers for fiscal 2008 and 2009.
Superintendent David Rivera sees the Internet as a great communications tool and believes that even small school districts can be on the “cutting edge” of technology. Hart ISD has maintained a Web site for several years, hosted on the Region 16 Education Service Center (ESC) Web site; similar services are available to other Texas school districts through their local ESCs. Rivera reports that district employees handle the online posting of financial documents: “It didn't cost much, but it does take some staff time and effort.”
Business Manager Nelda Ethridge prepares the data in PDF files and sends them to Bob Foster, the district's technology coordinator, who edits the document and posts it to the Web site with Adobe Professional. Normally, the district has little confidential data in its check register, but if such appears, Foster reports, he can easily edit it out during this step.
“There is no excuse for any school district not to post budgets and check registers online,” says Foster. The only cost involved is about one hour per month of two employees' staff time.
“Taxpayers have the right to know where their money goes,” says Rivera. Online financial data have resulted in positive feedback from the public and improved relations with the community as well as local media.
View the Hart ISD Web site.