Kicking off the budgeting process with the School Planning Summit
Originally published in the San Francisco Examiner
Last week I shared some information about SFUSD’s budget. I mentioned how the majority of funding for our public schools comes from the State of California. Our district, like many, has to make relatively little money go far. California, when adjusted for cost of living, ranks 41st in the nation for the amount it allocates per public school student.
Each year we submit a budget to the State and that budget is created with community input. One way that input is gathered is through School Site Councils. While they meet year round, the budgeting process is formally launched next week when school site leaders and community stakeholders meet for the School Planning Summit to work together as a team to create a strategic plan for their school.
The School Planning Summit is an important opportunity for site leaders, teachers and stakeholders to set goals that include the entire school community and create a vision for supporting historically underserved populations. As a whole, the San Francisco Unified School District is committed to closing our opportunity and achievement gaps, and this work would not be possible without the dedication of our teachers and principals at their school sites every day.
This year, participants at the School Planning Summit will be working with a new guiding document known as the School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The SPSA is a strategic planning tool that aims to help sites maximize the resources available to the school while minimizing duplication of effort in district-wide planning.
This process isn’t just an SFUSD idea. As part of requirements for receiving federal funding, each school must complete a school plan every year that outlines their strategies for serving all students and addresses their budgetary needs. The SPSA fulfills this requirement for schools, and also streamlines the process for the district in our own planning.
In order to implement our strategies for improvement we need to align our financial resources. The School Planning Summit allows us to gather collectively to discuss our budget as a district, while also giving schools the opportunity to plan according to their community’s unique needs.
Some of the questions we want to consider when approaching our district and school plans are: What are we trying to improve? What changes will we make and why? How can we measure if these changes lead to improvements?
While individual school communities may have a different answer to these questions, what we all have in common is our shared mission of providing each and every student the equitable supports and opportunities they need to thrive in the 21st century. Planning ahead helps us make sure that this mission increasingly becomes a reality.
If you are an SFUSD parent or staff member and want to participate in the School Planning Summit, talk to your school principal. This year the summit will be held at Everett Middle School on March 7th, from 8:45am – 1:00pm. Learn more here.