Eagle Co. school budget more democratic | VailDaily.com

Eagle Co. school budget more democratic

Matt Terrell
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The school district is trying a new philosophy in developing its 2008-2009 budget, a philosophy that gives schools more say in who gets money.

The budget, for the most part, will still go through the same mind-numbing number crunching that all big budgets go through. And, for the most part, that process isn’t interesting or new, said Phil Onofrio, the district’s chief financial officer.

This year though, principals, teachers and district departments like special education will have a more simple and direct way of requesting things they believe are necessary for a classroom. It’s basically a new form to fill out, but it’s a form that wasn’t there before.

“If they want something new or different they didn’t have before, they have a clear avenue of getting it,” Onofrio said. “They can say, ‘this is what we need, this is why we need it.'”

Maybe it’s more books, new math worksheets or even more teachers for a certain subject. All budget requests will be judged by department leaders based on whether they’ll help student achievement, which puts more power in the hands of educators and less power in the business department, Onofrio said.

“We’re the wrong ones to make decisions on curriculum, and the people who are experts in it are the right ones,” Onofrio said. “They’ll tell us how much they need and where it should go.”

The school district hopes this approach will do a better job of giving teachers the things they need to meet their goals.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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