Oklahoma cities, counties, school districts fail review of information on their websites

Most local governments in the state failed a nonprofit open government organization's review of the information on their websites, although larger agencies like Oklahoma County and Oklahoma City did well.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Published: October 14, 2012
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Oklahoma cities, counties and school districts mostly earned poor grades from a national nonprofit group that reviewed the information available on government websites, but a few larger cities and counties stood out with top marks.

Tulsa, Owasso, Oklahoma County and Tulsa County all scored A-plus for the information on their websites. The grades were issued by Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit based in Arlington, Va.

Oklahoma City and Wagoner County each managed an A-minus from the group. The state's website got a B.

School districts did the worst, with the majority, including Oklahoma City's, getting an F. Oklahoma City Public Schools was marked down for having no budget or tax information online, among other things.

Tierney Tinnin, district spokeswoman, said she hadn't looked at the full report but acknowledged the district's website could be better.

“I think there is always an opportunity to improve, especially when it comes to transparency,” Tinnin said. “We will look at what they have to say. It's a good opportunity to look at what we need to add.”

Tinnin said the district laid off its webmaster a couple of years ago because of budget cuts. The responsibility of deciding what to put on the website and maintaining individual pages is now spread to several people and departments, she said.

Most counties in the state don't even have websites. Only 22 counties had any sort of web presence, leaving 55 with failing grades by default. Even those with websites often fell short of the group's standards, a 10-point checklist on items like budget information, audits and the availability of public records.

Oklahoma County earned top marks after getting a B-minus the last time the site was reviewed. County Clerk Carolynn Caudill said staff made improvements to the site to address some of Sunshine Review's concerns.

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