Student Based Budgeting was a conversation that hit Jeffco during the Fall of 2014. Though under our previous superintendent, there was planning and focus group exploration prior to that time. As the chair of the district accountability committee at that time, Superintendent McMinimee stressed to me multiple times in a planning meeting that it was Dr. Stevenson’s idea. According to several principals, the plan that ultimately came out was very different than what had been explored previously under Dr. Stevenson’s leadership.
For the 2015/2016 school year, SBB was implemented at all neighborhood schools and 3 option schools. There were winners and losers depending upon what school you happened to be attending. Thanks to the great work of our financial staff and feedback from principals, the plan for SBB was modified for the 2016/2017 school year. This information was just made public at the January 12th Board Meeting.
The restructured SBB 2.0 started this year with the remaining Option Schools added into the plan. More work is to be done for 2017/2018.
According to the presentation from the district, here are a few items that will change under SBB 3.0 to enable the best use of funds in serving students. (A factor would be an amount of funding per student based on enrollment; i.e. $X for 399 students, $Y for 400 students.)
Enhanced Size Factors
- Include factors for small and large schools
- Elementary increased from 3 factors to 15
- Middle increased from 2 factors to 12
- Senior increased from 3 factors to 12
Introduced Plateau Funding
- Used to eliminate “cliffs” as schools increase enrollment and shift size factors
What does this all mean? Let’s say you’re at a school with 400 children and your friend is at a school with 399. The two schools would receive different amounts based on number of students enrolled. Larger populations receive less funding due to economies of scale. In a district with 155 schools, every population is very different.
You can view that presentation from the district here – http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/files/AHGUBY7B2DDE/$file/PRESENTATION%20Student%20Based%20Budgeting.pdf
Regardless of which school your child attends, SBB isn’t simple. Some schools have PTAs that bridge the gaps in funding and some don’t. Some schools have higher populations of special needs and some don’t. There just isn’t a realistic or ethical way to put a price tag on any child to determine an actual cost when preparing a budget, so hats off to the financial staff and principals for all of their hard work in making the most of what little funding we actually receive as well as those who are preparing for proposed cuts coming from the state.
As a parent or community member, each school has an accountability committee that you should be participating in. These meetings are where you are able to give your feedback on school budget decisions. It is required to have more parents than any other group represented (such as teachers and classified staff.) At many schools, additional staff who want to participate are not able to do so because not enough parents participate. YOU can fix that!
These meetings are crucial and more parents need to be involved. State Statute was written specifically to ensure your ability to participate in these meetings. Check your school calendar or call your school for the date and times of meetings!
Also, make sure you participate in the district budget survey!
Go to the link here – http://jeffcoschools.citizenbudget.com/