San Diego Unified uses school site-based budgeting. This important step in the Public Education Investment Model has been utilized since the 2011-12 school year.

Under this system, individual principals and their communities will have as much say as possible in how money is spent.

  • Principals meet with teachers, parents, the School Site Council and other advisory groups to prepare their spending plan.

  • Every school has a Single Plan for Student Achievement, a key document that sets the goals, objectives and operational plan for the year. School budgets must support this plan.

The budget is divided into four areas: a base school allocation, central office support, categorical funds and site discretionary funds.

  • Base School Allocation. This includes a principal and the classroom teachers sufficient to support a school’s projected 2012-13 enrollment, based on the ratio approved by the Board of Education.

  • Central Office Support. This are is funded by the district's general fund and is a no cost to the schools. Includes School Police services, Information Technology staff and a nursing pool, all at a basic level, most likely reduced from previous years. Schools will also receive support from their Area Superintendent.

    Schools are being asked to think “outside the box” and see how they can share services as much as possible.

    In addition, several resources will remain at current levels through Central Office Support, including elementary teacher prep time, high school athletics, JROTC programs, Food Services, the visiting teacher allowance, and custodial staff and supplies.

  • Categorical Funds. Includes Title I and other federal and state programs, which are used for services that contribute directly to student academic achievement and support the Single Plan for Student Achievement. Examples are instructional materials, professional development and parent involvement. Categorical Funds cannot be used for clerical or support staff, athletic equipment, building improvements or custodial supplies.

  • Site Discretionary Funds: Covers minimal essentials needed to operate a school site and can vary from school-to-school, listed in budget materials as "X Factor." Campus communities will decide what support their school needs most. A formula is used to calculate Site Discretionary Funds based on enrollment and the school type. Programs and services that can be funded with this allocation include school counselors, GATE and Seminar programs, campus security assistants, and Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) teachers. Additional supplies, hourly supervision and class-size reduction can also be paid for by this fund.