A national review of the transparency of each state’s 10 largest school districts shows Connecticut’s districts have much room for improvement.

According to a report released Tuesday by Sunshine Review, a nonprofit pro-disclosure organization, the public disclosure rules and availability of information in the state’s largest districts were better than just six other states.

The rankings are based on whether current and previous budgets were readily available and whether contracts and vendor agreements were published on the system’s site. It also took into account whether contact information of school and election officials are available.

Transparency of school budgets has also been on the radar of some state official in recent months. The education reform law approved last year by the General Assembly requires the state to launch a “uniform system of accounting for school revenues and expenditures.” The state Bond Commission in December approved $450,000 for the governor’s budget office to hire a contractor to develop a database for school boards and municipal governments to report where spending habits.

Twenty-two percent of the current $20.5 billion state budget is spent on cities and towns. That includes about $3.5 billion in grants, and just over $930 million in payments into the teachers’ pension program.

The transparency report card also graded disclosure practices for state and municipal governments. Connecticut’s largest cities come in 12th place for what it discloses and the state ties several others for 11th place.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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