Budget planning is a key priority for districts. Thoughtexchange is a quick and efficient way to dig deeper into the voices and perspectives of your community to help shape your budget and learn post-vote insights.
Identifying your goals at the beginning of the process gives you guidance as you design your exchange and discover your results. Consider the progress you’d like to make and how you’ll use your results.
Some reflective questions that may help guide you:
- What’s the progress you would like to make?
- Who do you need to share these results with?
Recommended Exchange Questions
Here are some sample questions for different phases of planning. Feel free to pick and choose questions that will help you meet your goals.
- What are your top priorities for the [year] budget? (see below for complete exchange template for this question)
- What are the most important things to consider as we begin to plan for our [year] budget?
- What are the most important things that the district should consider in the development of its 2019-2020 fiscal budget?
- What are your thoughts or questions about the proposed budget? (you can use the results from this exchange to create a report of FAQs to include in your communications pre-vote)
- What are your thoughts and questions about the revised budget proposal?
Post Vote Engagement
- What are your thoughts and questions about the failed budget vote? (Consider pairing this with a survey question to find out how people voted. Ie. yes, no, didn’t vote, prefer not to say)
- What influenced your decision to support or not support the proposal? If you voted no, what changes would you suggest?
- What are the most challenging ways budget cuts can affect staff morale, and how can leaders best support their teams in this environment?
Dear <Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff>,
We are excited to launch this exchange to include you in our budget planning process. As we begin to plan for next year’s budget, we want to hear what is important to you and what we should prioritize within our district. Some areas to consider are curriculum, instruction, facilities, and school safety. If you have any other thoughts or topics that are important to you, please share those as well.
This exchange will be open until DATE. Please share your thoughts and then rate the thoughts of others.
Thank you for sharing your perspectives with us!
- This exchange is confidential. Your thoughts will be shared, but not your identity.
- Please be polite and respectful as you share and rate thoughts.
- If you see a thought that is rude, hurtful or identifies a person or group, you can report it by clicking in the upper right corner of the thought.
- You do not need to rate all thoughts in this exchange. It is appreciated and recommended to rate around 30 over the time the exchange is open.
Recommended Survey Questions:
Survey questions give you the opportunity to enhance your exchange, and better understand what’s important to different groups in your community and help you tailor your communication to different stakeholders.
Recognizing that you may belong to more than one of the following groups, please select the one which you feel best describes your involvement with us:
- Staff Member
- Community Member
*You may also want to include a survey question to ask about building or school level or for a post-vote exchange how they voted (yes, no, didn’t vote, prefer not to say)
**New Feature! Participation Groups
Participation Groups allows you to break a potentially large conversation into demographic-specific groups. For a more in-depth explanation, click here.
If you would like to use participant groups, get in touch with us and we will get you set up.
We suggest keeping sign-up off to maximize participation.
Deciding on how to moderate depends on the specific needs of your district and community. Options include community moderation or machine moderation. If you’d like more details, check out this help article.
Discover Your Results
The Discover Dashboard offers several tools to help you dig into your results and take action. Once your exchange has closed, think back to your goals for your exchange and use those to guide what you do in the Dashboard.
Some reflective questions that may help guide you include:
- What’s the progress you would like to make?
- Who do you need to share these results back with?
- How should you share the results for that audience?
- What do you see? Where is there agreement? Where are there differences? Where might you need to dig in deeper?
- What are the quick wins or next steps to move forward?