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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: October 5, 2015 03:32 PM
From: Representative Jim Christiana
To: All House members
Subject: Public School Web Accountability and Transparency (SchoolWATCH) Act
I am preparing to re-introduce (HB 224) legislation that will provide Pennsylvania’s taxpayers with transparent, easy-to-find financial information concerning our Commonwealth’s public schools.

Last session, I introduced HB 1411, which would have established a searchable database providing detailed information concerning receipts and expenses of school districts, charter and cyber charter schools, and area vocational-technical schools. Although my legislation passed the House twice (once as HB 1411 and once as an amendment to SB 1281), it unfortunately did not achieve final passage. However, the current Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has taken its own steps to add public school fiscal information to the School Performance Profiles of school districts, charter and cyber charter schools, and area vocational-technical schools. The fiscal transparency system that PDE has designed will utilize information that public schools already provide to PDE, but will put the data in a centralized location and an easy-to-use format. The new system will not result in any new reporting requirements or costs to public schools.

I believe it is important that PDE’s excellent work be made permanent through statute. For this reason, I am re-introducing a bill that will require PDE to continue providing taxpayers with this critical financial transparency. My bill will help our constituents, who work hard to make ends meet while financially supporting their local public schools, to ensure that those schools are using their resources wisely.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Previous Co-sponsors: Ryan Mackenzie, Mark Mustio, Marcy Toepel, Stephen Bloom, David Millard, Bryan Cutler, Rob Kauffman, Stan Saylor, David Maloney, Stephen Barrar, Russ Diamond, Kathy Rapp, Michael Driscoll, Vanessa Brown, Ron Marsico, Mike Vereb, and Adam Harris.

Introduced as HB1606