Take this survey:
I present the preceding survey as an interesting approach to incorporating community investment, involvement, and input into the budget process for local school districts. Austin, TX is facing a $15,000,000 shortfall for it's FY 2010-2011 budget. There are a number of proposals and ways of accomplishing this. So, the Superintendent and the Chief Financial Officer put together a fairly straight forward online survey to involve ALL members of the school district, the community, and anyone else who would like to give some advice or their opinion. This means you---literally.
So, please take a look at the online survey (also offered in Spanish). I would say even participate and give your advice and input. If you like this approach, perhaps discuss your own district using such an approach to get meaningful feedback. More people than ever have access to the Internet and this allows EVERYONE to have a say in the process of school budgeting (public libraries and community centers can easily have terminals for those community members without internet access).
It is *critical* in my opinion however that the public be aware of the results of the survey in a timely fashion to assure transparency and to communicate the perspectives of the entire community. Ultimately, by law, the budget must be presented by the Superintendent to the Board of Education for approval and then voted on by the public. But, approaches like this that are being tried in Austin, TX (recently voted the top district in the USA for it's size- communities larger than 250,000 but under 1,000,000) are interesting and being explored elsewhere around the country.
One must be careful not to rule and make difficult decisions based only on public opinion-- but the Internet and online surveys of large segments of the community- allow us to redefine access, involvement and the democratic process in terms of the operations and responsiveness of public systems. -Dr. Petrosino
December 8, 2009
Community Encouraged to Take On-Line Survey on AISD Budget
The Austin School District has launched an on-line survey to gain additional community input on the School District budget. The survey follows closely on the heels of two Community Conversations that resulted in more than 300 people participating in exercises designed to give them a sense of the difficult decisions the Board of Trustees faces next year in developing the 2010-2011 school year budget.
“The District is facing a budget shortfall of $15 million for FY 2010-11, just to cover normal operating expenses,” said Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley-Abram. “This deficit grows even larger when additional budget increases are considered for new instructional programming tied to the District's Strategic Plan and potential employee raises. The District is now contemplating various budget reduction proposals to assist in closing this budget gap. Therefore, the District would like to obtain your input and feedback to the proposals that are currently being considered.”
The seven-question AISD budget survey can be found on-line at: