KONZ | Rollout of JCPS financial transparency website delayed - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KONZ | Rollout of JCPS financial transparency website delayed

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The rollout of a financial transparency website put together by Jefferson County Public Schools has been delayed due to developer issues. 

Superintendent Donna Hargens has said the citizen's transparency website will be the place for community members to go to see where the district's money is being spent.

JCPS had hoped to have the website live by the end of September, but it now appears it will be January before it will be available.

"It is an incredible amount of data and we are working with the developer to ensure the accuracy of the data," said Ben Jackey, a spokesman for the district. 

Eddie Muns, director of accounting for JCPS, said the website will show "lots of data in real time" and will be updated each week.

The public will be able to search things like employee earnings, vendor payments, total expenditures and other transactions. 

They will also be able to fully explore the district's $1.3 billion budget.

"You will be able to break it down by school or by each department in the district," Muns said. "It will show every reimbursement made to any vendor, whether it be an employee or a company."

For instance, LG&E is the district's largest vendor. It spends approximately $20.5 million annually on gas and electric, he said.

Another huge cost? Fuel for district-owned vehicles. Last year, it spent approximately $10 million on fuel.

"We've been providing data on vendors for years, but it wasn't available in real time," Muns said. "And a lot of times, the public had to submit an open records request to get it. This will be much easier."

Muns said the overall goal is to "give people confidence we are being up front with our finances and how we are spending their tax money."

"If they can get their financial questions answered by visiting this website, we have done our job," he said.

The website, which cost approximately $28,000, is being developed by Tyler Technology. 

The idea for the website was suggested by school board members who were seeking better access for the public to district spending, Muns said.

It was also mentioned in the year-long state audit conducted by Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen.

Another suggestion by Edelen was for JCPS to do a comprehensive salary study. 

On Monday, the school board voted to spend $192,000 for Management Advisory Group International, Inc. to conduct a compensation and classification study -- which will look at the salaries of every job in the district.

The review will begin in December and last about eight months and is the first time the district has looked at salaries since 1979, Hargens told school board members.

Meanwhile, Edelen and Hargens participated in a Louisville Forum luncheon today (Wednesday) where they discussed the district's finances.

For information on the forum, visit www.louisvilleforum.org

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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