The City of Elmhurst and Elmhurst School District 205 were among 13 of 22 York Township-area in DuPage County to receive passing grades in an online transparency audit conducted by the Illinois Policy Institute.
In an effort to fight corruption and encourage public participation in government, the Illinois Policy Institute grades governments on how much public data is readily available on public websites.
Dubbed “The Local Transparency Project,” the grades are based on the availability to the public of vital community information such as public meeting schedules, government employee salaries and tax rates. Since the project was launched by the Institute in February 2010, more than 160 government entities have been graded.
The government entities that scored above 80 percent were: DuPage County, Elmhurst School District 205, DuPage High School District 88 and the municipalities of Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Downers Grove and Lombard. The village of Lombard, in fact, maintained a score of 100 percent that initially awarded in May 2012.
Government agencies that received passing grades were: the municipalities of Oak Brook and Westmont, school districts 58, 181 and 45, and high School District 99.
Government agencies that received failing grades were: York Township, High School Districts 86 and 87, Grade School Districts 48 and 53, Unit School District 201, and the municipalities of Glen Ellyn, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park.
District 205 achieved the highest score in the state for a school district, while Lombard first received a top score of 100 percent in May, tying for the top score in the state with Orland Park.
“The Village of Lombard and School District 205 are statewide leaders when it comes to proactive online transparency and accountability to their taxpayers. We are also very pleased at how eleven other governments in the York Township-area have shown big improvements,” Brian Costin, director of government reform at the Institute, said.
District 205 Superintendent Dave Pruneau, Superintendent of Elmhurst School District 205 reflected on the district’s 90.6 percent score – the highest for any school district graded in the Local Transparency Project – and the importance of online transparency.
Commenting on the district's 90.6 score, Pruneau said, "Transparency is something Elmhurst District 205 takes very seriously. We understand that public schools are simply that – public. We have an obligation to communicate the management of this district to the community that support us. To that end, we work hard to provide documentation and commentary, through our Board of Education meetings, through our website and through direct email communication with our constituents on a weekly basis,” said Superintendent Dave Pruneau.
Costin added he was “very disappointed in the other nine agencies that had extremely low scores and who haven’t yet embraced online transparency. This needs to change if those taxing bodies truly want to be accountable to their taxpayers.”
The bottom nine agencies had an average score of 39.5 percent and all received an “F” grade. In comparison, the top 13 agencies had an average score of 79.8 percent.
A full list of scores are below:
Local Transparency Project – York Township-area as of June 20, 2012
|Agency||First Audit||Final Audit||Grade||Change|
|Village of Lombard||71.4||100||A+||+28.6|
|Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205||48.4||90.6||A-||+42.2|
|City of Elmhurst||56||86.3||B||+30.3|
|DuPage High School District 88||39.7||81.7||B-||+42|
|Village of Downers Grove||78.1||80||B-||+1.9|
|Downers Grove Grade School District 58||56.7||77.4||C+||+20.7|
|Community High School District 99||39.5||76.6||C||+37.1|
|Village of Oak Brook||50.1||68.1||D+||+18|
|Village of Westmont||56.5||67||D+||+10.5|
|Community Consolidated Grade School District 181||46.6||65||D||+18.4|
|Grade School District 45||62.7||62.7||D-||0|
|Hinsdale Township High School District 86||59.1||59.2||F||+.1|
|Village of Glen Ellyn||49.1||54.3||F||+5.1|
|Butler Grade School District 53||19.7||42.8||F||+23.1|
|Village of Villa Park||39.9||41.1||F||+1.2|
|Glenbard High School District 87||35||39||F||+4|
|Salt Creek Grade School District 48||31.6||35.7||F||+4.1|
|Community Unit School District 201||31.8||35.5||F||+3.8|
|City of Oakbrook Terrace||27||30||F||+3|
|Top 13 Agencies (Passing Grade)||57.1||79.8||C+||+22.7|
|Bottom 9 agencies (Failing Grade)||34.2||39.4||F||+5.1|