Reimagining School Funding
Boston Public Schools is starting the process to reimagine the school funding policy to ensure our shared values are clearly communicated in the allocations to school budgets.
Equity underpins our approach to reimagining how we allocate funds to schools, and our recommendations will come from the community directly. The Community member Steering Committee will be empowered to recommend a school funding policy to the Superintendent, in alignment with the BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool.
We ask the Boston community to join us in this process and use this site as the central hub to find updates, see scheduled engagement events, engage in REPT development, and connect with the project leads.
Boston Public Schools (BPS) is excited to announce the launch of the “Reimagine BPS School Funding” project. For over 10 years, BPS has allocated its public funding to schools using a “Weighted Student Funding” (WSF) model. WSF factors in each school’s projected enrollment and the levels of need for each projected student to determine school budgets. As the district experiences citywide decline in enrollment, we recognize that the WSF model has impacted school communities unequally across the district and that this method too narrowly constrains school funding in ways that may be counter to the community’s values.
Although there have been regular updates and modifications to the original formula, there is more work to be done. The needs of our students, families and schools look different than it did ten years ago and we must adapt in order to support these changes. To that end, we are launching this project to reevaluate how we fund our schools to reflect the priorities of students and families, equitably support the unique programming at schools, and ensure a “quality guarantee” at all schools. Under this context, today we begin to reimagine a better way.
To support this project, Afton Partners, an organization that partners with schools to analyze and transform funding policy and practice, has been selected through a RFP process to bring national expertise to the project. Afton Partners has led similar work with Chicago Public Schools and with the District of Columbia Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education to ensure equitable school funding for all students. Afton will lead the stakeholder engagement and technical analysis phases of work. On Afton’s consulting team is UPD Consulting, an equity implementation company that specializes in organizational change management. UPD has led several large-scale, equity-focused stakeholder engagement projects with school districts and education agencies across the country, including the Vancouver Public Schools and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
The BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool will be core to this work. The BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool lays out a clear six-step process to operationalize BPS’s commitment to closing opportunity gaps and advancing racial equity. We will keep the public informed with our progress through regular updates on the new Reimagine School Funding page on our BPS website, and through regular engagement with stakeholder groups such as the Community Equity Roundtable, OAG Task Force, ELL Task Force, SPED PAC and parent groups.
During our initial stakeholder investigatory meetings, we met many passionate community and heard some common themes that were echoed by the Community Equity Round Table group around community empowerment. Our project team took these learnings and designed a porject structure that puts the recommendation making power with the community led Steering Committee. BPS has been intentional in designing this project structure to ensure that it centers our community through four key stakeholder groups.
The Community Steering Committee will be empowered to recommend a school funding policy to the Superintendent, in alignment with the BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool.
Working groups including the Funding Policy Design Group, Principals Working Group, and the Engagement and Communications Tactical team will conduct the thorough work of designing funding model options and impact assessments, conducting community engagement, and engaging principals.
Steering Committee Membership
- Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) - Hajar El Ayoubi, BPS Student
- Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) - Dorion Levy, BPS Student
- Citywide Parent Council (CPC) - Suleika Soto, Parent and advocate
- District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) - Jun Xie, parent, and Higher Education Analyst
- District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) - Karim Elrazzaz, The Islamic Society of Boston - Community Program Manager
- English Learner Taskforce (EL Taskforce) - Suzanne Lee, Community Advocate / Former Principal of Quincy Elementary
- Opportunity and Achievement Gap Taskforce (OAG Taskforce) - Dr. Lisa Gonsalves, UMass Boston - Department Chair, Curriculum and Instruction, Associate Professor, College of Education and Human Development
- Office of Multilingual and Multicultural Education Recommendation - Dan French, Former Executive Director of Center for Collaborative Education
- Parent - Jenny Marcelin, parent and advocate
- Parent - Jonathan Reovan, parent and advocate
- Special Education Parent Advisory Council - Roxi Harvey, parent and advocate
- Special Education Parent Advisory Council - Lisa Jeanne Graf, parent and advocate