East Baton Rouge Parish School's Financial Transparency
A Call for Transparency: Your Voices Were Heard
May 16, 2022
“I am pleased to see the EBR school district recognize the importance of public transparency in the spending allocations of ESSER funds. The district was able to produce it’s own transparency site as an immediate response to public requests after initially stating such a dashboard would not be possible for several years. While the Alliance had recently launched a transparency dashboard of available data to serve as a stopgap measure, the best source of up-to-date information is the school district. We hope this progress continues in the future with their $499 million annual budget and especially with the $450 million sales tax funds received for salaries, facility maintenance, and disciplinary action. Transparency is an important step in instilling public confidence in allocating resources to address student needs.”
Adonica Pelichet Duggan, CEO
Transparency should be the cornerstone of our government.
EBR Schools received $223 million from the American Rescue Plan,
a once-in-a-generation lump sum to help our children recover from the learning impacts
of the pandemic during COVID-19.
We’ve requested and gathered the individual expenditures to provide a spending dashboard to the public. Our findings and timeline of events are below:
The Alliance encourages the school board and district administration to prioritize fiscal transparency in a letter to The Advocate. In response to our letter, then School Board President Michael Gaudet responds with a commitment to transparency, but explained that that commitment would translate into action only when the board’s antiquated accounting system would allow, offering a 3-year timeline for implementation.
School Board Vice President Dawn Chanet Collins and board member Connie Bernard attempt to change the source of a recommended stipend for district staff from the general fund to federal relief funds, only to be informed that COVID-19 dollars had been spent or encumbered.
If board members can’t track the money, how is the public expected to do so?
The Alliance remained dissatisfied with the promise to provide
fiscal transparency at a point years in the future.
As a result, the Alliance continued to request additional information be made publicly available on the allocation of these federal COVID relief funds
and how the district has earmarked those resources.
On April 27, 2022 the Alliance launched the dashboard below and continued calls for district responsiveness.
EBR Schools released partial accounting report of the
American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding spend.
We built this spreadsheet to provide transparency on how EBR Schools spent ARP Elementary
and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) money over the last decade.
See below the allocations for specific purposes and if funds were spent as designated.