Submitted by Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications
McKinney ISD is one of only five school districts in Texas to receive a 2012 Sunny Award from Sunshine Review for outstanding online financial transparency — and one of only two Texas school districts to receive an “A+” rating from the organization this year. In addition, McKinney ISD has earned a third consecutive Texas Comptroller Gold Leadership Circle Award for online financial transparency.
These awards highlight McKinney ISD’s ongoing commitment to transparency and clear communication with the community.
“It is always nice to be honored by a third party when it relates to fiscal responsibility and fiscal transparency,” said Cody Cunningham, McKinney ISD Chief Communications Officer. “We work hard to be as transparent as possible, and we have invested resources to ensure we have timely and comprehensive information posted on our website. We recognize there is always room for improvement and we look forward to continuing to publish important information related to the District’s finances, policies, programs and schools.”
Sunshine Review is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting government transparency. In 2010, they established the Sunny Awards to honor government agencies that maintain the highest standards of website transparency. This year Sunshine Review editors evaluated more than 6,000 government websites in 50 states, grading each site with a “10-Point Transparency Checklist.”
They looked at the content — items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes — actually available on each of the sites and compared it with what should be provided to the public. After their analysis, only 215 state, county, municipal and public school district entities from across the country earned recognition. 2012 marks the second year in a row that McKinney ISD has earned an “A+” from Sunshine Review.
“The Sunny Awards recognizes governments that are doing an exemplary job at proactively disclosing information to taxpayers,” said Michael Barnhart, President of Sunshine Review. “There are so many organizations and associations that highlight what is wrong with government. We at Sunshine Review are proud to acknowledge those who are doing it right and setting a transparency standard that all governments can, and should, meet.”
With a like-minded mission, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts launched the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program in 2009. With three levels of recognition — Gold, Silver and Bronze — the program recognizes government agencies that are making their books open to the public; providing clear, consistent pictures of spending; and sharing information in a user-friendly format that allows taxpayers to easily drill down for more information.
Approximately 80 Texas school districts earned the Gold Leadership Circle Award in 2012. McKinney ISD is one of only 44 districts that has earned the award every year since the program’s inception.