Last fall, one of our Nodaway County school’s administrative personnel started sending out weekly emails updating the board of education about recent happenings. Those of you who know me will understand that I would never want to stifle communication. But the problem reared its ugly head at the board of education’s regular monthly open meeting when the administration asked for approval of certain emailed communication and failed to share that information with the entire room. It was obviously a way to keep their work from those in the room who are not privy to the emails. Plus, I truly question whether some of the board members had even read the said emails as not everyone is a 24/7 email junkie.
The Nodaway News Leader reporter requested being added to the email list so we can stay in the loop of the school’s happenings. She was declined as there were student welfare cases within all of the said emails. That reason is a bit hard to believe. Emails are not that secure to say the least.
I’ve visited with the Missouri Press Association hotline attorney and our county prosecutor about the situation and both agree the process is heading down a path that is not in alignment with the public’s right to know which is sacred to the Sunshine Law. So, our plan is to see if the board might communicate with the administration about the need to keep all of the public involved and informed.
Another issue has come up regarding the publishing of the school’s financial statements. While I realize the text size within those oceans of numbers in a financial statement may not be easy on the eyes, I am a strong proponent for the publication of any and all of the financial information connected to the operations of any entity which receives tax revenue to exist.
We pay taxes, either through our purchases or because we own property, whether real estate or personal. This is not easy for most of us. We deserve the right to know how those dollars are spent.
The state law mandates that taxing entities, especially public schools, must publish these financials and I would suggest that other entities such as townships, cities and towns and other government groups should be willing to produce a financial statement on a regular basis to be published by a legal newspaper with a wide subscriber distribution.
Throughout the decades, the local newspaper has been the watchdog of these government types. I pledge to you, our valued readers, that we will continue to be bold and aggressive in retrieving the facts for you to read on our pages.