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Student-Based Budgeting

Students at an Assembly

Student-based budgeting (SBB) builds a school’s budget by providing dollars to individual schools based on the number of students and student needs identified. The school then determines the number of staff, supplies, and other expenditures within its budget. SBB was implemented districtwide during the 2015-16 school year. It is an educational funding allocation best practice that public school districts use nationwide.

Jeffco Public Schools provides resources to schools through a hybrid approach that combines student-based funds with staff that are allocated and funded from department budgets. Examples of staff allocations include learning specialists, paraprofessionals and operations staff like custodians and field maintenance.

Four Principles of Effective Funding Systems

Why Change Student-Based Budgeting?

Jeffco is now revisiting SBB to evaluate its effectiveness, especially since schools need to rebalance their budgets to serve smaller numbers of students. The goal is to improve SBB and connect it with Jeffco's strategic plan. The district is partnering with Education Resource Strategies, a leader in strategic school resourcing, to analyze and redesign the budgeting process.

Key findings

  • Schools have uneven amounts of money left over after purchasing the recommended minimum staffing and materials for students. Ideally, schools will have similar amounts of money left over as a percentage of their overall budget after budgeting for the minimums required.
  • Dollars intended for specific efforts to support the needs of students living in poverty are not always available, and the amount of funding designated for these supports is below the recommended level in some schools.
    • For schools receiving Title I funding, the combined Title I funding and at-risk funding exceeds recommended levels.
  • The current school resource guide could be improved to more transparently state how dollars and staff are allocated to schools.

Materials and Presentations

Frequently Asked Questions