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2011-01-31 21:11:22
Davis School District tops state in transparency g


ksl.com - January 31,2011
By Jared Page

FARMINGTON -- Chris Williams recalls attending an out-of-state public relations workshop a few years ago and listening to a presenter talk about improving school websites.

To Williams' surprise, the presenter used the Davis School District website as a model for others to follow.

'It was out of the blue,' the Davis School District spokesman said.

Williams was surprised again last week to learn that Sunshine Review had honored the district website with its highest rating -- an A+.

The government transparency champion relaunched its website, sunshinereview.org, in January using a wiki format, allowing visitors to add information and grade state, county, city and school district websites on transparency.

'Sunshine Review is a community of citizens who have worked tirelessly to open up their governments,' said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review. 'From exposing state checkbooks to ensuring that school board and county board minutes are posted publicly online, our community is advocating for transparency -- the simplest function of government.'

Williams said Davis School District for years has been committed to making any and all public information available and easily accessible online.

'We've just had that as part of our culture and the way we do business,' he said.

Sunshine Review's wiki format allows for grade averages to rise and fall as more information is added to reviews of respective government websites. Davis School District had an A+ ranking when the site relaunched last week, but since has fallen to A-.

Jordan, which also received an A-, was the only other Utah school district to receive better than a B-.

Salt Lake County's website, www.slco.org, received an A-, which is the highest among Utah's 29 counties. Sunshine Review praised the county website for posting meeting agendas and minutes, background and contact information on elected officials, and tax information.

Salt Lake City also received an A- for its website, www.slcgov.com. Joining Utah's capital city atop the honor roll were Draper, Ogden, Provo, Riverton, Sandy, Taylorsville and West Jordan.

Utah's state website, www.utah.gov, received a C. Though the website was deemed easy to navigate and contained much of the information expected by the public, it took a hit for not providing information on agency lobbying contacts, state ethics or comprehensive information on forms requesting public records under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act.

A full list of Utah government websites and how they fared is available HERE.


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