Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do you really know where the money goes? How do you know?

Every year people question the funding about their school, system, district, organization, or agency and every state provides the information differently. Georgia has the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounting (DOAA) where Internet users can access various reports

Every year someone in an authoritative position tries to have the GA DOAA site and/or information blocked or strongly discourages individuals from viewing the information available. The RCSS website states, "The Mission of the Richmond County School System is to educate students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens".

1. Every person has the right to a quality education.
2. Education is the shared responsibility of the individual, home, school, and community.
3. Every person can learn.
4. Respect and acceptance are essential for learning and personal development.
5. A safe, healthy and orderly environment is essential to learning.
6. Communication is the key to understanding among people.
7. Excellence cannot be compromised.

The Augusta Chronicle has a section for the local (Richmond, Columbia County [GA] and Aiken, SC) boards of education, which links associated articles about schools and events for the district.

RCSS has the eBoard site
Richmond County tax information can be found here and selecting the county.
Augusta, GA Government provides access to GIS online where you can view properties and associated taxes with that property.
Georgia property tax information.

So here is the Open Georgia about us description:

Open Georgia is a gateway for obtaining information and key documents about how the State of Georgia spends tax dollars and other revenues to provide services to Georgians. The information maintained on this site comes from various state agencies and is updated annually.

Here is a screen shot of the search for Richmond County Board of Education, where Internet users can view, sort columns of data, and download annual reports in csv or pdf formats based on the determined fiscal year dates.  Here is the link for the pdf shared in Google Docs for the Richmond County Board of Education, July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010.

Options are available to create reports for: State Agencies, Boards, Authorities and Commissions, Units of the University System and Georgia Military College, Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESA), Technical Colleges, Local Boards of Education. Go ahead and learn about your local board of education, community and technical colleges and/or RESAs by creating your own report.

Are you quick to jump on the hype presented by media or do you conduct some type of analysis before jumping into the blame game of educational funding? How do you know where the educational funds are being spent for your local educational organization? Do you really know how and where the money is being spent? How much of the state, local, and/or property taxes that you pay are dedicated to education?

I know we did not learn this in school, but how do you learn where your pennies go whatever your role in the community may be?

JMHO...comments are always welcome.

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