Statement from the Pelican Institute Upon the Veto of Fiscal Transparency for School Districts
BATON ROUGE—CEO of the Pelican Institute, Daniel Erspamer released the following statement after Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed Representative Rick Edmonds’ bill to make school district finances transparent:
“We are disappointed that Governor Edwards would veto this good-government transparency legislation. Louisiana outspends most of our neighbors per student while achieving among the lowest educational outcomes in the nation. The first step to turning around outcomes is by showing how school districts are spending taxpayer dollars, especially as hundreds of millions of federal bailout dollars flood into school board coffers. Now, instead of including school districts in the Louisiana Checkbook, their finances will remain in the dark.
“The legislature agreed that Louisiana’s kids deserve a system that doesn’t hide its finances from taxpayers, but thanks to the veto pen of Governor Edwards, that information will stay in the shadows. Unfortunately, the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) made their opposition clear; one wonders why they don’t want Louisiana citizens knowing how they are spending their tax dollars. Districts are set to receive $3.9 billion in state MFP dollars this year along with hundreds of millions from the federal government, and it’s perplexing to imagine why common-sense transparency – the same standards that apply to state government – wouldn’t be embraced by everyone, especially school board members.”