Published May 29, 2014
By Annie Wilson, Journal reporter
Belton Independent School District made its financial information available to the public in one place on its website, www.bisd.net.
Budgets and check registers for the last three years, annual financial reports, tax rates, information about bond debt, emails for trustees and information about how to send in an open records request is on BISD’ new Financial Transparency web page.
“The Board is very committed to the idea that they have a responsibility to be good stewards of the tax payer’s dollars,” Kyle DeBeer, Public Relations Coordinator at BISD said.
BISD submitted an application to The Texas Comptroller’s Office on May 12 for the annual Leadership Circle Award. The awards are categorized in four tiers, platinum, gold, silver and bronze. The award is presented to local governments that provide on-line financial transparency.
“They have a number of criteria that they use to assess the pages that the local governments put up and then they determine which award to give the local government,” DeBeers said.
On a self scoring list submitted, BISD met 21 of the 22 criteria on their financial transparency website.
The 2013-14 property tax rate $1.45 per $100, down from $1.52 for the previous year.
“When voters in the district support a bond election to build new schools or pay property taxes to fund the district, their (the board) responsibility is to invest those funds in educating children in the community and they feel that part of being a good steward is making sure that there is a transparent way for anyone who is interested to see how tax dollars are spent by the district,” DeBeer said. “The financial transparency web page does just that, it shares the information with the community.”
DeBeer said the community gets the chance to see how their tax dollars are being used.
“I think the real value of the financial transparency web page is that it gives the community a way to learn how their tax dollars are providing the students with an education that prepares them to excel in tomorrow’s world.”
BISD welcomes feedback from anyone in the community who has a perspective that they would like to share.
“One of the things that we are interested in, finding out if there are things that people would like to know that they don’t see reflected in the page,” DeBeer said. “What those are so we could continue to make it a better resource, add more information to it that people are looking for.”
BISD’s financial webpage can be found at http://www.bisd.net/transparency.