Kansas Liberty — JCCC offers ‘transparency 101’

New web-based tool allows taxpayers to see how the community college spends its $145 million budget.

JCCC offers ‘transparency 101’

Johnson County Community College is creating a new tool that will allow Kansans to look at how their tax dollars are being spent.

The portal will be a website, set to be available to the public by early next year. The site will allow taxpayers access to a searchable, extensive funding database that looks into JCCC finances.

The tool will be a vast improvement of the funding information that is currently available for JCCC, said JCCC trustee and former state representative Ben Hodge.

Hodge, a fiscal conservative, said he had been working to get the database available to the public for the last five months.

“I think that government doesn’t always give the appropriate respect to the taxpayer and remember that it is the taxpayer’s money and that the government needs to spend it wisely,” Hodge told Kansas Liberty. “Local governments and particularly with education have a poor record with transparency so I thought let’s show the taxpayer how we are spending their money.”

Hodge said the site will be set up to resemble the tax-dollar tracking tool, KanView, but that the JCCC project will be a separate site.

The JCCC project will cost approximately $25,000. JCCC has an annual operating budget of $145 million.

Hodge said JCCC would be the first college in Kansas that he knew of to make funds public in this manner and that while he hoped other colleges would follow in JCCC’s footsteps he didn’t think that would be the case.

“I am pleased that our college can set a good example and I would be surprised if this type of project would be difficult for even the smallest city to set up,” Hodge said. “I do think taxpayers deserve this but getting the government to work well is often like dragging a dead body along. If it was up to me there would be a law mandating this type of transparency for every local government.”

– Holly Smith