School board expense disclosure call welcomed

Alberta Education’s call for school boards to publicly disclose all of their expenses is being welcomed by Central Alberta school districts.

Alberta Education’s call for school boards to publicly disclose all of their expenses is being welcomed by Central Alberta school districts.

The provincial government recently announced it had developed a new expense and disclosure policy for the government.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson said in a letter to Red Deer Public School District chairman Lawrence Lee that it’s incumbent on school jurisdictions and charter schools to diligently review their policies in this area.

The public school board decided it would develop a similar policy to that of the government’s.

Lee said on Thursday that he anticipates that board expenses will go online early next year.

He added that the district has always allowed people the opportunity to review expenses by going down to the district office and they would be provided.

“A lot of what Red Deer Public is doing already is parallel to what the government is asking us to do, which made our decision that much easier,” said Lee. “It is a little bit of work, but if it helps the public feel more comfortable with the way we’re handling their tax dollars, then that’s not a bad thing.”

Adriana LaGrange, chairwoman of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said the matter will be discussed during the board’s next meeting on Nov. 27.

“We’ve always had the understanding that everything was transparent,” said LaGrange.

Kurt Sacher, superintendent of Chinook’s Edge School Division, said the school district hasn’t gotten to the specifics of such an expense policy. Such expenses are already publicized in the annual audited financial statements.

“But we have no difficulty in moving a little further with that exposure because we believe in transparency,” Sacher said.

“We’ve always encouraged people that when you are filling out an expense claim, to do it in the sense the public may have access to it and make judgments based on it. So we don’t have a problem with that approach.”

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