Norwalk Reflector: Monroeville schools join Ohio Checkbook program
By Ivy Keller
November 23, 2016
MONROEVILLE — Inquiring minds can now visit Monroeville Local Schools on ohiocheckbook.com, a website that allows anyone to see what schools and government entities are up to financially.
Of course, it’s all voluntary for the institutions involved.
“We wanted to be more transparent, so we put state salaries online,” explained Jeffrey Heinrich, a representative of state treasurer Josh Mandel. Heinrich visited the school Tuesday, Nov. 22 to speak to district officials. The program, started in 2011, soon branched out from state salaries to schools and small government.
Heinrich demonstrated one of the program’s biggest perks, which is being able to search for anything using what he called a “Google-style searchbar.”
“It’s very to the ‘T’,” he said, bringing the graphs down to more in-depth numbers until they showed individual checks and payments. “This is really the nucleus of ohiocheckbook.com.”
According to Heinrich, nothing is changed once it reaches the treasurer’s department.
“Once we have the information from the local entity, we don’t do anything ... (we) just build the site.”
Monroeville Superintendent Ralph Moore was interested to see the apparent breakdown of savings between the years.
“We’ve been doing a lot of energy-saving type things,” he said.
More than 17,000 checks are listed for Monroeville schools at this point, representing that all-important “nucleus” Heinrich referred to.
Although this is largely a state effort, Heinrich admitted it wouldn’t be possible without the effort of people like Monroeville Local Schools treasurer Stephanie Hanna. He asked her to speak during the presentation Tuesday.
“I wanted to do this to be transparent to our taxpayers,” Hanna explained.
“It’s also a great resource for our community members to use.”
She said she hoped the program could answer many questions for taxpayers and community members.
“I look at the expense reductions. We work really hard to reduce costs,” said Hanna. “We’re always trying to show the public how we’re spending our money.”
There are plans to keep the page uploaded with new content monthly, which Heinrich encouraged.
As of Nov. 21, 67 cities, 103 school districts, 147 townships and 130 villages were involved at varying levels with the online program. They can choose how much or how little information to supply.