Transparency in California Schools

On Thursday the California Senate passed legislation to “bring greater transparency and accountability” to the financial dealings of the University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges.

According to an article by Katie Nelson in The Daily Californian:

Senate Bill 8 — authored by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco — was passed with a 38-1 vote and would ensure that UC, CSU and the community college auxiliaries and foundations adhere to state public records laws. Under the bill, all financial records, contracts and correspondence would be subject to public disclosure upon request.

The colleges opposed previous versions of the bill, one of which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed, saying transparency might scare off donors. The current bill, according to the Nelson article, “would specifically protect the anonymity of donors and volunteers in all cases of donations except in situations where the donor or volunteer receives a gift from the university valued at or over $2,500.”

The bill is unlikely to make California’s colleges any cheaper or more effective since it will, however, not provide one more cent to the Golden State’s higher education system. More money might have been a more useful contribution of the state legislature to the state’s public colleges.

Yee’s bill comes out of a fundraising visit Sarah Palin made to California State University Stanislaus last spring. Palin refused to disclose the contract she signed with the school or how much she was paid to appear.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer