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Santa Fe Public Schools

District Partner 2014

ERS is partnering with Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) to support the design and implementation of a Fair Student Funding (FSF) system, also known as Student-Based Budgeting. This new funding system is part of a broader transformation strategy based on the "portfolio district" model.

District Facts

Students: 14,071
Staff: 949

Work Focus


  • Flexibility Assessment: Conduct interviews with district and school leaders to identify what barriers principals currently face to using their resources flexibly, and deliver a report with findings and recommendations to Central Office
  • Advising on Fair Student Funding system: Advise the FSF design and implementation teams on topics such as: defining the pool of eligible resources, determining which resources to “unlock,” identifying types of weights, and identifying typical implementation challenges
  • School-Level Resource Use Report: Produce a report for each principal that describes how their resources are currently distributed; this includes looking at trends in teacher effectiveness, class size, and use of time
  • Strategic School Design Trainings: Develop and co-deliver two principal trainings on foundational elements of strategic school design, thus preparing principals to take advantage of new flexibilities over their use of resources

Findings and Outcomes

  • Better preparation for Fair Student Funding (FSF): Though school leaders may have flexibility on paper, they may not have it in practice. ERS’ analysis highlighted potential barriers to flexibility that the district can consider as they move forward with FSF. For example, under FSF school leaders will be much more empowered to choose the staff in their building. To support this, the SFPS can consider moving up their recruiting and hiring season to early spring to allow school leaders to choose among the best candidates. ERS also recommended that SFPS consider a recruitment "fast-track" for high-needs positions (i.e. ELL teachers), and that external candidates be allowed to compete with internal candidates on the same hiring timeline.

  • Fair Student Funding linked with Strategic School Design: In SFPS, Fair Student Funding is not just a new funding model—it will be paired with supports for principals to use their resources in strategic ways to meet students’ needs.
    • School-Level Resource Use reports show every principal key data to guide their school planning - for example, how their novice teachers are distributed across grades, and whether students who are not proficient in a subject receive more time in that subject the following year.
    • Strategic School Design training helps principals identify their school’s needs and goals, and explore strategies such as high-performing teacher teams, personalized learning, and community partnerships, so that principals can align all of their new resources to promote student success.

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