The budgeting process is underway in the Burlington School District. But this time, education leaders are doing things differently.
The Burlington School District’s new “Equitable Budgeting and Staffing Model,” attempts to allocate resources based on enrollment and a student’s need.
“Our new emphasis on engagement is really going to ask principles to lead conversations with their school communities,” Nathan Lavery, Executive Director of Finance for BSD said. “And that is going to be a change from what we historically done.”
Lavery said he hopes this model provides resources to the students who need them most.
“That’s the commitment to equity that we sought to embed within all of our work with developing this new model,” Lavery said.
New to the process will be something called RISE. It stands for “recognizing injustice and seeking equity.” Each school will receive a share of money.
“And that allocation is intended to provide the funds in a slightly different way,” Lavery said. “It looks at not just enrollment, but it applies weights to students based on need.”
Superintendent Tom Flanagan said many students say activities should be considered too.
“These specifically for elementary and middle school students, but those extracurricular and out of school activities that they want to make sure their schools are offering,” Flanagan said.
But a teacher at Burlington High School had one concern, he said there is no data on the LGBTQ plus groups.
“My concern is that if we are not dignifying that from the top down as a group in need, that it is going to be overlooked on the school level as well,” Andrew said.
Lavery said the work group did take a look at that issue specifically but there is a reason why they don’t know more right now.
“We are missing two of our key ingredients,” Lavery said. “One of them was a research based assessment of what that weight could look like. The other is we don’t feel like as a district we have reliable data that we can use to then apply those weights to our students’ enrollment.”
This budget would be for the 2022 to 2023 school year.