Lakota joins Ohio Checkbook program to bring more transparency to district finances

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Butler County’s largest school system will soon be active in a state program designed to bring more financial transparency to the district’s operations.

By the end of the month more information will be available on Lakota Schools, said district officials, as part of the Ohio Checkbook program for the state’s public school systems.

The change springs from action taken recently by the Lakota Board of Education.

“I really believe strongly in the transparency and accountability part of this,” said Board President Lynda O’Connor. “Our community can see exactly what we’re spending our money on.”

Lakota Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Adam Zink made a presentation to the school board on the state program during an earlier June meeting.

“People will be able to review Lakota’s finances in several ways through various charts and layouts,” said Zink. “They’ll be able to drill down into the data very easily.”

Available data will include Lakota’s accounts payable information, but will not include payroll information such as employee pay stubs.

By clicking on the available charts, individuals will be able to view transaction summaries and details quickly and easily.

Lakota officials said Zink and his staff researched several platforms before recommending the Ohio Checkbook, which is sponsored by Ohio’s Treasurer of State.

Officials cited one major benefit to selecting that particular state option is that it is free, which makes it a fiscally responsible decision in addition to the added transparency it will provide to taxpayers and community members.

“Until we get more feedback from our community members and staff, I would hate to make a huge investment in one of the other portal options,” said Zink, referring to the $21,000 cost of the other contending organization to provide the financial transparency.

Coupled with the affordability of the Ohio Checkbook, many school districts and local governments in Ohio are already using the platform successfully, he said.

“This is something that I have really been hoping we would do for many years now,” said O’Connor. “There may be additional questions (about spending) as we start this process but giving people the opportunity to go in and answer questions themselves and see the data themselves is a good step forward.”

The district will begin to upload Fiscal Year 2023′s finances in the coming weeks, with the goal of being live at the end of July on the Lakota district website. Moving forward, data will be updated quarterly beginning at the end of September.

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