One of the value points of School Advisory Councils (SACs) all across District schools is being able to have the voices of multiple stakeholders heard about topics that are pertinent to our schools. In this December’s SAC Tip of the Month, we want to remind you that your school’s SAC meetings should be used to meaningfully discuss the school budget and hear the opinions and voices of many different parties.
It’s important to remember that school budgets are created around multiple factors including contract requirements, available revenues, centrally allocated resources, the school allocation formula, school improvement plans, action plan goals, and school enrollment. Hence, there are many spendings that cannot necessarily be altered because they are pre-determined. You can read more about this in the Guide to School Budgets here.
School budgets align spending according to each school’s improvement plan and prioritizing improving student achievement. After the base requirements are met for the school in terms of staff, books, supplies, and additional supports, principals are able to create their budget based on what they determine are the best choices for their school community.
SAC members can be involved in their school’s budget development in a few different ways. One is to be informed about the budget by reviewing your school’s budget online to understand current resources or, when it is possible to return to your school building, looking over your school’s Title I binder, which is located in your school’s main office. SAC members can also work with the school’s principal prior to school budgets being released to prioritize resources.
Another valuable way to give input is to attend your school’s Title I parent meetings in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. These Title I meetings can be combined with SAC meetings. These meetings communicate the required Title I and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) information from the school’s end. In these meetings, after schools present required Title I and ESSA information, there is an opportunity provided to obtain the feedback and opinions of stakeholders whether it be family, staff, students, and/or community members. Hence, these intentionally merged Title I and SAC meetings can open up a healthy and strategic dialogue surrounding what the needs of the school are and the usage and allocation of school funds in meeting these needs.
One of the fundamental goals of a SAC meeting is to have strategic conversations in which multiple stakeholders’ voices are heard, so look out for opportunities to engage in future SAC and Title I meetings.
More public resources around the District’s budget, as well as school budgets, can be found here. If you have any additional questions or thoughts about your school’s SAC, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.