Urbana schools puts finances online as its builds $65M new schools

Urbana City School leaders will put the district’s finances on Ohio’s online checkbook as its new $65 million buildings are getting closer to opening.

The move is to create a more accessible district, Superintendent Charles Thiel said.

“It an avenue of transparency with the community,” he said.

The Ohio Online Checkbook is a website run by the Ohio Treasurer’s Office that allows users to search public agencies’ financial records, according to the website. The Urbana City School information is currently available at OhioCheckbook.com.

MORE: Northwestern schools to put checkbook online

Urbana residents trusted district leaders when they agreed to build two new schools, Thiel said, and the move to put the district’s finances online will help anyone interested in finding out how the district spends its money.

“Currently, it looks like we are spending a lot of money because we are in the construction process with our buildings,” he said.

Voters approved a $31 million bond issue for both a new high school and a kindergarten-through-eighth grade primary school on U.S. 68 south of town.

The cost of the new high school is $25 million and the primary school is about $39.5 million. The state will pick up about 61 percent of the total costs.

The district is spending about $3 million a month because of the new schools, Thiel said, and transparency is more important than ever.

“That is a lot of money every single month,” he said. “That is another piece that is part of that, people can see how we are spending those funds.”

The new high school will open in early April, Thiel said, after spring break.

READ: 4 Clark County governments join Ohio online checkbook

“For our high school, the building is currently on schedule,” he said. “Things are being put in place and we have furniture that is going in now.”

Urbana City Schools have always been open with how it spends money, Thiel said, and anyone interested is welcome to check the records both online or on paper.

“From a public point of view, anybody who wants to see our books are more than welcome to call, ask questions, do records request and everything is really transparent,” Thiel said. “Now with the opportunity with the online checkbook program, it will be easier for somebody to but a higher level overview of where the dollars are being spent.”

The Ohio Checkbook has been operating since late 2014. Urbana schools leaders have known about it since its launch, Thiel said, but didn’t want to jump on board immediately until the district had a better understanding of how it works.

“We wanted to make sure it was done right,” he said.

Ohio Treasurer John Mandel released a statement saying he believes Urbana City Schools leaders did the right thing by adding themselves to the website.

EXTRA: Treasurer announces four Clark County partnerships

“I believe the people of Champaign County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent, and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with my office to post the finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” Mandel said. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”

Other local agencies on the checkbook from the area include Springfield Twp., Madison Twp., Northwestern Local Schools and Tecumseh Local Schools.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs year-round daylight saving time measure
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs year-round daylight saving time measure

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is signing off on a measure that would let Florida stay on daylight saving time all year long. >> Read more trending news  Scott on Friday signed 74 bills into law, including the "Sunshine Protection Act." The measure won't take effect unless Congress also changes federal law. But if Congress were to go...
Mother crashed car into pole to prove to kids God is real, police say
Mother crashed car into pole to prove to kids God is real, police say

Police say a mother intentionally crashed her SUV into a pole to prove to her two small children that God is real. >> Read more trending news  Investigators say Bakari Warren, 25, told officers after the crash that she did it on purpose to show her kids that if they believe, God would protect them. The crash and the 5- and 7-year-old kids&rsquo...
Springfield NAACP threats connected with fired firefighter
Springfield NAACP threats connected with fired firefighter

A threatening letter sent to the Springfield NAACP president earlier this week has prompted an investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. The letter contained “threats of violence and racial epithets,” in response to comment made by NAACP President Denise Williams to the media, Springfield officials said. RELATED...
Cyberattack on City of Atlanta could compromise sensitive information
Cyberattack on City of Atlanta could compromise sensitive information

City of Atlanta officials are struggling to determine how much sensitive information may have been compromised in a Thursday cyber attack. >> Read more trending news  They urged employees to check their bank accounts to make sure their financial information had not been accessed and said that anyone who had conducted transactions with the...
Grievance against Clark County chief deputy: Hiring process ‘tainted’
Grievance against Clark County chief deputy: Hiring process ‘tainted’

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy resigned Friday amid an investigation and after two grievances were filed against him. Chief Deputy Travis Russell had been second-in-command since Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett took office in January 2017. “We are doing an internal investigation and we can’t give out any information...
More Stories