His current proposal, Thatcher said, would require only $15,800 to modify the state's transparency website and provide training for school districts and charter schools. He said the bill would require little effort from educators and virtually no cost to the state, but would represent a significant step in the right direction toward total disclosure.
"We’re virtually asking them to do nothing, we’re asking them to share data that they’re already collecting," he said.
Martell Menlove, state superintendent of public instruction, cautioned that because the data would represent a one-year snapshot of district spending, it could potentially lead to misunderstandings of the ongoing investment strategies in schools.
"We are interested in transparency, we are interested in providing data; however, we want to provide that data in a matter than makes sense to someone," Menlove said. "I’m not sure that providing an excessive quantity of data is going to make it possible for many who would search this to have better information."
In response, Thatcher said that with any disclosure of information there is potential the information will be misread or misunderstood. But he said that doesn't justify withholding data, particularly when it is readily available.
"Is this the absolute end game? Probably not," he said. "But it is small enough not to cause damage but big enough that it could definitely get us moving in the right direction."
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