Let's agree that the more taxpayers know about how their local school district is spending their money, the better.Assisting that transparency ostensibly is the goal of a new report from Texas Comptroller Susan Combs. But "Your Money and Education Debt" might be as misleading as it is insightful.An Associated Press story about Combs' analysis published in Friday's Star-Telegram reported that she said the document resulted from feedback at town hall meetings where taxpayers were frustrated that they can't control federal and state spending.In the report, one of a series her office has published, Combs points out that from 2001 to 2011 public school districts' debt grew far faster than the rate of inflation and that debt-service payments are the fastest-rising expenditure in Texas public education. In fiscal 2011, 854 of 1,024 districts were carrying debt: a total of $63.6 billion, which breaks down to $13,530 per student. (bit.ly/WLyDcR)Those are huge numbers, especially to anyone trying to pay off personal debt and worried about increasing tax bills.But here's some perspective: This school debt is overwhelmingly for bonds, which increasingly are districts' major tool for affording new schools, renovations to aging buildings and the tools that students need to prepare for 21st-century jobs.And there on page 4 of the report is the kicker: "voter-approved bonds traditionally represent about 98 percent of all school district debt."Indeed, voters have every opportunity to control whether their community takes on this kind of spending and the corresponding obligation to repay the debt. More often than not, they say "yes."School officials develop bond proposals, present them to the public and nothing -- including higher taxes to pay off the bonds -- goes forward without voter approval.As Combs' report acknowledges, $62.6 billion of that $63.6 billion of public school debt was approved by a majority of voters who showed up at the polls in each jurisdiction.Last year, voters in Grapevine-Colleyville approved a $124.5 million bond program that includes a districtwide technology upgrade as well as turf football fields. Mansfield voters approved a $198.5 million package to pay for new schools, wireless Internet and security cameras, among other things.In 2009, Southlake-Carroll voters approved a $138 million package for school construction, improved technology and football stadium expansion.The Fort Worth district is completing the last components from its $593.6 million program that voters approved in 2007 to renovate schools, add new campuses, put interactive whiteboards in thousands of classrooms and upgrade science labs.The Northwest school district is asking voters Nov. 6 to approve a $255 million bond proposition that includes a new high school and middle school and program enhancements for math, science and environmental studies.It is telling that the districts with the most debt are either urban (Dallas and Houston) or wealthy and growing (Cypress-Fairbanks, Northside, Frisco, North East, Katy, Lewisville, Conroe, Plano).Too bad many people don't bother to vote in bond elections. Even though considerable information already is available, Combs says districts should provide more data on websites and ballots about outstanding debt before voters approve more.Tucked into her recommendations is this timid gem: "The Legislature should consider whether the state should review funding of noninstructional facilities." Like football palaces, maybe?Combs warns that "educating Texans is becoming increasingly expensive, and some of these costs are being pushed off for future generations to pay."But the real problem is less that voters in a place like Allen approved a $59.6 million high school football stadium and more that lawmakers are pushing off the hard work of properly funding the academic side of Texas schools until they have a court order at their neck.