Budget Chronicles: Making Sense of Dollars and Cents

Welcome to the Budget Matters Blog. Some in our community have indicated a desire to dig into a deeper level of understanding around OUSD’s budget challenges. While our broader community will receive occasional budget updates, you can expect to get more regular deep dives into the details of the budget. Please feel free to encourage any other people you know who might be interested to sign up to receive this blog by email—it will be important to build a critical mass of folks who deeply understand the problem and possible solutions to OUSD’s financial challenges. As a part of this blog and in an effort to support OUSD in addressing these issues, GO will:

  • Share up-to-date information to keep the community aware of what is happening and how to contribute.
  • Create informational blogs providing key terms and definitions
  • Host guest perspectives to highlight current Oakland issues and best practices from elsewhere.
  • Create opportunities to meet and share your perspective with key leaders.

In this blog we will dive headfirst into the deep end of the budget.  The OUSD budget is critically important. First and foremost, the budget is a clear statement of what you actually value.  An unfunded initiative is just an idea.  Second, a functioning budget is like the oxygen in a room. You don’t miss if until it is not there.  And then, all of a sudden … it becomes the only thing that matters.

Over the years, OUSD has faced more than its fair share of budgeting issues.  Each episode is rooted in the fact that schools are underfunded and there is a strong desire within educators and the community to give students everything they deserve. This is is further complicated by a lack of strong policies, systems, and most importantly – culture to stop the cycle.

These episodes are destructive. They disrupt students’ education, demoralize caretakers and educators, and sap the public’s faith in the system.

It does not have to be like this and it is time for it to stop.

We believe that if more people understand the budget and can weigh in on the complex and urgent decisions that must be made, we will get ourselves out of the current crisis and set up OUSD to break the cycle.

If you are like me, it is intimidating to step into the conversation without being shut out by the vocabulary and often confusing and shifting information.

The goal of this blog are to bring the community the information it needs to make informed actions and  decisions, provide a system-wide perspective, and provide the community with background information necessary to dig deep into the budget.

Please let me know if you have any questions and suggestions for content or questions to answer.  This is definitely a work in progress and will benefit from your perspective.

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