Clermont Sun: Williamsburg becomes first district in Clermont County to join OhioCheckbook
By Kelly Cantwell
September 22, 2016
Williamsburg Local Schools was recognized on Sept. 15 for being the first school district in Clermont County to join OhioCheckbook.com
Washington Township, the sixth township in the county to join, was also recognized for putting their information on the “online checkbook,” which was launched in 2014. OhioCheckbook is a user-friendly database that allows the public to see how tax money is being spent. Information is searchable by category, vendor and agency.
Users can view charts, graphs and individual checks, compare expenses between multiple municipalities and export data.
“Today we’re here to recognize Williamsburg Schools for being leaders in transparency, being the first and number one school in Clermont County to publish their information online,” said Josh Burton, who works in public affairs for the treasurer’s office.
Ohio was ranked first in transparency for the second year in a row by the United States Public Interest Research Group because of OhioCheckbook, Burton said.
“We have set a national standard for transparency,” he said.
Of the 3,962 local governments in Ohio, more than 20 percent have committed to OhioCheckbook.
Treasurer Julie Kamphaus said she is very happy to partner with the treasurer’s office. She started talking with the Williamsburg Board of Education last year about putting the district’s finances on OhioCheckbook, and the board passed a resolution to join in December.
Since then, Kamphaus has been working on designing what she wanted the district’s site to look like and uploading the information. There is only financial information from fiscal year 2016 online, but Kampahus plans to update the information quarterly, and will add this quarter’s information at the end of September.
“It’s all about transparency,” Kamphaus said.
She added, “We have great taxpayers, they’ve been good to us, so I just feel like this is the natural progression.”
Superintendent Matt Earley said he could not be happier that Williamsburg is the first district in the county to join OhioCheckbook.
“Transparency is crucial in today’s educational environment, today’s public service environment,” Earley said.
The district tries to get as much value as they can out of every penny.
“We try to be a value driven organization,” said board president Greg Wells.
He added, “This is an opportunity for us to display that.”
The treasurer’s office has also been working with the New Richmond Exempted Village School District, the Bethel-Tate Local School District and the Clermont Northeastern Local School District, all three of which are currently under review, Burton said.
Washington Township Fiscal Office Sheila Dufau said in a press release that OhioCheckbook will help the township makes records easily available to residents, whom she encourages to use the website.
For more information, go to williamsburglocalschools.ohiocheckbook.com or washingtontownshipclermont.ohiocheckbook.com.