We Need Community Engagement in the Budget Process

Have you reviewed the plan presented for Community Engagement in the Budget Process yet? If not, it’s time to read it and start to advocate. 2015 12 17 Community Engagement Plan

 

This plan is not sufficient outreach for the wide audience of stakeholders in a district the size of Jeffco. Click above to see the plan or read the synopsis below:

As part of the 2016/2017 budget development process, the budget department is recommending the following three processes to provide effective and efficient opportunities for engagement:

School Accountability Committees (SAC)

  • Staff is recommending a survey hosted by an independent third party specifically for SAC that provides the vehicle for feedback on needs and priorities at individual school sites. As part of the SBB budget process, each school SAC would complete one survey.

Central Department Budgets

  • Four to five departments are on track to be involved in the new Budgeting for Outcomes process. The remaining departments will continue as part of the previous budget process. Budgets will be reviewed for efficiencies, and requests for increases will be brought forward for consideration and prioritization.

Community/Stakeholders

  • A district-wide survey will be developed that will be marketed to all stakeholders to solicit feedback on budget priorities. A brief overview of the current status of funding changes will be provided as reference for the survey.

 

While we agree with the items above, this must go much wider for a district the size of Jeffco. Previously, community budget forums were held in across the district and advertised to a wide audience to include outreach to business community members via Chambers of Commerce and City Councils.  Very thoughtful table discussions occurred at each location following presentations from district leadership and board members. This needs to resume following two years of the community being ignored.

 

 

In 2014 alone, 13,101 people participated in just the survey! The community was desperately reaching out to be heard! You can read our article about that here –

http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/community-budget-forums/

Don’t miss the feedback results from 2014:

http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/02132014_Community_Survey_Results1.pdf

You might remember last year, 2015, when people had realized that they were going to be ignored and fewer participated. http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/community-budget-survey-2015/

 

Additionally, the district is statutorily obligated to include the District Accountability Committee in this process. They shouldn’t only be reviewing the results of other meetings. Previously, SPAC always was able to give feedback about the process that should occur in order to gain more participation. This has traditionally been an extremely valuable committee with a wide range of voices and methods of outreach. Their time should be valued and able to engage much more than the description included.

 

We KNOW it’s a lot of work and we also know just how important it is to have the entire community engaged and informed. We think the community has spoken pretty loudly and impressively in their desire to support and engage Jeffco Public Schools. Send an email to the Board today and tell them that you want more opportunities to enable participation!

Please take action by emailing the Board today!  board@jeffco.k12.co.us.

 

Jeffco is too large to not include meetings throughout the entire County!