State and local websites earn a “C” grade on disclosure of key information
Alexandria, Va.— New Hampshire government websites are neither at the head of the class nor at the back of the pack when it comes to proactively disclosing vital information to the public, according to an analysis conducted by Sunshine Review, a pro-transparency group.

The state earned an overall “C” grade on the group’s 10-point transparency checklist, which measures content available on government websites against what should be provided. The checklist seeks information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes.

“A ‘C’ grade on something as crucial as transparency is nothing to boast about,” said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review. “New Hampshire voters deserve an honor-roll performance when it comes to disclosing information on matters that affect everything from their tax burden to their children’s education.”

The state website earned a mediocre “C,” accounting for half of New Hampshire’s overall grade. Also assessed as part of the Sunshine Review analysis were the websites of the state’s ten largest school districts and the five largest cities and counties. The city websites earned a high “B” mark, school districts got a “C” grade, while the school districts pulled up the rear with a “D” average.

Nashua was the only government website in New Hampshire to earn an “A”-level grade, failing only to post information about lobbying. Meanwhile, the Sunshine Review analysis already is getting results. The Merrimack School District quickly moved from a “D” to a “C” grade by providing more information about contracts, audits, background checks and how to reach school board members and support staff.

“The point of this grading process is to get voters the information they need to see how well their government is working,” Barnhart said. “We’re starting to see that happen in New Hampshire, and we look forward to even greater progress.”

Sunshine Review is a nonprofit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency. Sunshine Review collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and a transparent government. Since its inception in 2008, Sunshine Review has analyzed the websites of all 50 states, more than 6,000 state and local entities.
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