The board of education Tuesday night didn't get to talk about federal stimulus money, or Superintendent Steven J. Adamowski's plans to use the $6 million reserve fund he proposed for next year's budget. (That's what was originally planned, and what a press release issued before the meeting said would happen.)
But the board did have a pep rally of sorts for the district's new system of budgeting, called student-based budgeting, or SBB.
The district brought out five principals who have embraced the new system to tell the board members about their experiences.
"You really have to be entrepreneurial in this kind of endeavor," said Naylor School Principal Robert Travaglini.
"It allows me to have an awareness of my wants versus my needs," said Dwight School Principal Stacey McCann.
"Now we are empowered to make the decisions," said Hooker Environmental Studies School Principal Raul Montanez-Pitre.
In student-based budgeting, money is allocated to schools based on how many, and which type, of students they have. For example, special education students are allocated more money than typical students. And the money is weighted, so special education students with extra needs are given bigger allocations.
But what about the family resource aides being cut from budgets? board members asked. What about the grumbling they have heard that placing budgeting on principals' plates is creating another chore?
"It depends on how the principals approach the budget," said James Thomas, the assistant superintendent for elementary education.
The principals said that the bad economy required them to make some tough decisions. But they said the schools will try to tap into relationships with community organizations to make up the difference.