Tennessee’s Williamson County Schools Makes the Case for Needed Funding with OpenGov
STUDENTS: 39,000 | AGENCY TYPE: School District | ANNUAL BUDGET: $340 Million
Tennessee’s Williamson County Schools uses OpenGov to convey the district’s financials to stakeholders, allowing users to consume information at a high level or drill down into detail.
OpenGov provides a way to bridge that trust gap and correct inaccurate assumptions. “This is a tool that allows anybody to explore all of our budget details and see that, on the whole, we don’t spend a lot of money – over 85 percent of any of our budgets over the years is locked into salaries and benefits, not discretionary spending,” she said. The presentations that Opengov offers through their software gives citizens, public officials and even our department heads to drill down and see what costs actually are and have been over the last several years.
Enhanced Stakeholder Engagement
Not every Board of Education member comes from a public sector background, and even those in private finance have a learning curve concerning the government budgeting operations. Holman loaded several years of District finances into OpenGov and created an experiential scavenger hunt for her Board members to explore the platform and see how easy it was to research and find specific information.
Holman also used the transparency site and its capabilities as her “show and tell” session in the district’s annual “InfoThon” held at the local galleria at the beginning of the school year. “Typically, nobody comes by my table because I’m in finance and I guess they think I have nothing to say but “give me the money”, but this year I handed out a prepared pamphlet of the scavenger hunt I had given the Board as a training tool,” she said. Holman engaged parents and community members with the site and shared the platform’s user-friendly landing page, which includes “How to Use OpenGov” and FAQ sections.