Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, recently welcomed state Treasurer Josh Mandel to Toledo so they could announce that the district is the largest in the state to place its spending online.

 “We are excited to be the first school district in Ohio and the first public entity in Lucas County to partner with the State Treasurer’s Office,” said Dr. Durant. “Our Treasurer’s Office will work to prepare the template that other school districts will utilize to share their information with their community.”

Mr. Mandel last year launched OhioCheckbook.com, which, for the first time in Ohio history, puts all state spending information on the Internet. In April, Mr. Mandel sent a letter to 18,062 local government and school officials representing 3,962 local governments in Ohio, calling on them to place their checkbook level data on OhioCheckbook.com and extending an invitation to partner with his office at no cost to local governments.

These local governments include cities, counties, townships, schools, library districts and other special districts and TPS was one of the first entities to respond.

“I believe the people of Toledo have a right to know how their tax money is being spent and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with the Treasurer’s office to post their finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said Mr. Mandel. “My vision is to create an army of citizen watchdogs who are empowered to hold public officials accountable.”

In addition to Mr. Mandel and Dr. Durant, the news conference held on Monday, May 11 at the TPS Administration Building included Bob Vasquez, president of the Toledo Board of Education; Matthew Cleland, treasurer of TPS; Eric Shreve, director of finance and accounting for TPS, and State Rep. Kevin Boyce. Also in attendance were TPS Board Vice President Chris Varwig and Randall Parker III, the newest member of the board.

“Toledo Public Schools began posting the district’s checkbook online in 2011,” said Mr. Vasquez. “Transparency with our community is one of the Board’s primary goals, and this new partnership with the State Treasurer’s Office allows us to provide that openness in regards to the district’s finances.”

OhioCheckbook.com was launched on December 2, 2014, marking the first time in Ohio history when citizens could actually see every expenditure in state government. Since its launch, there have been more than 200,000 total searches on the site. The website displays more than $408 billion in spending over the past seven years, including more than 112 million transactions.

The website includes cutting-edge features such as: search capabilities that allow users to sort by keyword, department, category or vendor; fully dynamic interactive charts to drill down on state spending; functionality to compare state spending year-over-year or among agencies and capability to share charts or checks with social media networks. Plus, there is direct contact for agency fiscal offices.

The Treasurer’s office is partnering with OpenGov, a Silicon Valley government technology company, to provide residents of Ohio the ability to view and search local government expenditures in a user-friendly, digital format.

For more information, visit www.OhioCheckbook.com.

Posted on May 14, 2015