Today Advancement Project California launched WeBudget , a first-of-its-kind website to better inform parents, students, and community members about the LAUSD budget and its impact on equity. Our schools are fundamental to creating a more equitable future, and the investments administrators and principals make help determine whether all students have what they need to thrive.
As COVID-19 forces local governments to make difficult budget decisions, it’s even more imperative that parents, students, and advocates know what resources LAUSD has and how it uses them. Unfortunately, community-unfriendly budget processes, inaccessible jargon, or lack of clarity about who’s in charge of what funding can shut them out of the decision–making process. WeBudget changes that by making budgeting information easier to understand, user-friendly, and transparent.
WeBudget gives advocates the information they need to make a difference. It includes:
- Revenue and spending visualizations and comparisons for the district as a whole, as well as for elementary, middle, and high schools, and state preschool and early education centers;
- Budget information in context with data on academic outcomes and community conditions, aligning WeBudget with the Student Equity Needs Index 2.0, LAUSD’s landmark funding formula that directs additional resources to high-need schools;
- An easy-to-understand budget basics section that walks users through California’s system of school finance and highlights opportunities for parents and others to have their voices heard in district-wide and school-specific budget processes;
- A comparison table where users can see how each school stacks up to help them understand how resources and differences vary across the district’s schools;
- The full website contents are accessible in both English and Spanish.
The data we’re making available through WeBudget paints the picture of a district that’s facing significant challenges, but which can also be proud of responding to advocates for equity by channeling important resources to higher-need schools. As the district grapples with the impact of the recession on its budget, safeguarding those key investments so that students of color get the support they need to succeed will be a critical part of the struggle to end racial disparities in Los Angeles.
We hope that WeBudget can be a part of the solution, helping the people most impacted by the district’s decisions understand how budget decisions make a difference in students’ success and giving them tools to advocate for their communities.