Oklahomans for Reponsible Government today released its first update in the Blueprint for Transparency series. A year ago OFRG looked at the website of every district in the state and assessed it in ten categories of transparency. This year, every website was checked again and the results were presented in an easy-to-read format.
There was significant improvement in the amount of information available overall. Of the 527 districts in the state, 233 had at least one improvement to their website. And while last year only 15 districts fully met five or more criteria, that number more than doubled to 33 this year.
“It’s good to see so many districts taking steps to improve their websites,” said Brian Downs, OFRG Executive Director. “We designed the original report to be a blueprint in the hope that districts would use it as a guideline to provide more information.”
The update found 48 districts – about nine percent – still have no website, down from 79 last year. Another disappointment is that 244 districts either showed no improvement or actually got worse in the amount of information they present.
“A website is only as good as the information on it and if it is out of date, it’s no better than having no website at all,” said Downs. “We hope that taxpayers will use the update to ask their school board members and district officials about the issue of transparency.”
The report includes 22 districts that had the best websites, although no district fully met all criteria. It also acknowledges the ten districts that showed improvement in the most categories: Plainview in Ardmore (improved in 8 categories), Oolagah-Talala (6), Sapulpa (6), Amber-Pocasset (5), Bishop (5), Edmond (5), Lindsay (5), Nowata (5), Pawhuska (5) and Ponca City (5).
“It’s encouraging to see districts make such great strides in transparency,” said Downs. “We believe every district could make similar improvements for next year’s Blueprint.”
Note: A .pdf of the Blueprint can also be found online at www.ofrg.org.