Opening budget to parent input a work in progress at Modesto area schools

Monday, December 9, 2013

The extra funding heading to San Joaquin Valley schools with the state’s new funding formula comes with a catch – parents get a say in how that money will be spent.

A study released Thursday by the nonprofit EdSource shows parents eager to participate in the process, but not sure how to fit more meetings into their busy lives. The EdSource Parent Survey found 72 percent of parents willing to give at least one hour a week to helping guide school decision making, but parents also wanted to be sure their input would make a difference and needed to learn more about school budgeting.

“I do think under this new law, school districts are going to have to be more open,” said EdSource executive director Louis Freedberg in a phone interview. Parents do not want to be “a rubber stamp,” checking off compliance boxes, he said, but it may take some district supports such as offering child care or creative meeting times to bring them to the table.

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