Before I can support the budget (or not), I need to know …

Send signed letters to [email protected], with a suggested headline.

I’ve been wanting to put down in writing what I’m missing in this year’s budget circus. Year after year, I feel like every player has left much to be desired in terms of details, and this year in particular, I think it behooves those players to not play charades with parents. As succinctly as I can manage, here are three things I need to know from NPS and the City so that we can engage more usefully as parents.

What I need to know from NPS:

  • The beef. What are the single biggest drivers of the 12% budgetary ask? Real line items. What is specifically influencing this drastic need?
  • Measure twice, cut once. Supportive evidence around recent major NPS change campaigns, most prominently: school pathways and equitable grading. Parents are open to change, provided there’s real merit. Give us the proof in the pudding on why these approaches improve our schools, and better prepare our students for academic success.
  • What’s at risk. Really. We understand part of this process is holding some cards close to the vest, but parents need a risk assessment. Every major organization, of which NPS is, has an order of cuts should situations warrant it. This is predictably fluid, but this can’t be the “boy who cries wolf” either. What is Jonny at risk of not having next year that he has now?


What I need to know from the City:

  • The “communication gap.” What are you missing from NPS to make what you feel are informed decisions? I am told time and again that NPS is noncommittal with information and vague about financial details. What specifically are you missing? Lack of information cannot annually be a convenient excuse.
  • Provide your own evidence. Do you feel the City is adequately funding the schools relative to surrounding cities? How do you feel NPS is properly or improperly using its allocation?
  • Kicking the can. How can you be more proactive and part of the solution? What in the city charter and workflow can be addressed to provide for a more transparent and amicable process going forward? How can you help lobby the state for supplemental funding if required? The population is changing and will increasingly weigh toward parents with school-aged kids. There are real opportunities here that require vision, and the charter in particular provides a once-in-a-century opportunity to adjust the balance of authority and streamline decision-making.


Justin Matley

(Justin Matley is a Chapman Hyperlocal Media Inc. Board member. The views expressed here are his own.)


One response to “Before I can support the budget (or not), I need to know …”

  1. Michael McGuire

    Amen. Good to see the Meek effect is spreading across the aisle. I think I might have to change my views.

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