Topeka’s Team Highlights Finance and Capital Projects
Sherry Schoonover has pioneered a data revolution in Topeka, Kansas. As the city’s Deputy Director of IT and Chief Security Officer (CSO), she and her team moved the city’s financial and capital projects data, plus more, in to an API-enabled, easily-visualized format with Socrata.
“The initial pilot was very eye-opening,” says Schoonover. She and her team took the approved, 200-page budget and moved it to a digital format.
“The first person to see it was our city manager and, at that time, his statement was, ‘Wow, I have never seen anything like this.’ He was excited,” says Schoonover.
She believes the new version of the budget is “service-oriented,” so that both staff and citizens can get more out of the data. It was easy to upload the information and make it visually appealing.
Next, she and her team put all the city’s capital projects into a Capital Projects Portal. They made some discoveries about data quality and accessibility. “Making this data public forced us into making a single data storage for all of the capital improvement projects,” says Schoonover.
The next goal is to make all the city’s data available from a single source and available to every staffer for analysis.