Plan for website listing Pa. public school expenses goes to Senate

    A proposal to make a searchable website of Pennsylvania public school expenses is now before the state Senate for consideration following passage in the House.

    The measure would require public schools to submit their expenses annually to the Department of Education.Eventually, the agency would display the information in a searchable website online.

    The site, to be called SchoolWATCH, was inspired by the roughly year-old state website PennWATCH, which displays various state expenses, said Rep. Jim Christiana, who sponsored the bill.

    “Interested constituents, advocacy groups, all of which I have heard from that regularly use the site,” said Christiana, R-Beaver.

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    While the two sites are similar in concept, the back-end would be very different, said Dan Egan, a spokesman for the Office of Administration, which oversees PennWATCH.

    The PennWATCH website, he said, is fairly easy to maintain, since state data, like payroll, tends to be centralized. At most, he said, the website must span about 80 agencies.

    By contrast, the SchoolWATCH site would be responsible for 500 school districts and numerous other charters, cyber-charters and vocation-technical schools — all of which could be submitting data in various forms.

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