budget change


How to Play

Your mission: Reach your budget target by selecting a winning combination of cards that moves you to improved performance for all students.

The cards represent investments and savings that can lead to improved instruction at a sustainable cost. They are organized into eight categories (indicated on the top left of each card) that are common to high-performing districts and schools. They relate to teaching, class size and much more. Please note that the budget impacts associated with various "card" choices are estimates based on real districts—your circumstances may vary.

To reach your budget target, try to balance the savings on the right while still leaving room for investments on the left. But be careful. Some moves might reduce your budget, but won't improve performance or lead to sustainable practice. Other moves might save money in the short term but significantly impair long-term performance. Some cards may only be effective if paired with specific investment options. We'll help you to identify these moves with a message that pops up when you select them.

Exploring Trade-Offs

As you explore the trade-offs, choose the "why" button to flip the cards and learn more. Hit the caution sign to learn more details about the implications of selecting this card.


Hit the caution sign to learn more details about the implications of selecting this card.

Playing Cards

Hitting play selects the cards to move you toward your budget target while taking steps towards improving.


If you play certain cards that are not strategic or transformational, a stop sign and explanation will pop up.

Your Score

As you make your selections, a running score in red at the top shows you how close you are to your budget target. Score changes to green once you've met or exceeded your budget target.

Helpful Hints

Start by identifying your priorities. There are no right answers, but some combinations of cards will better move your district forward towards improvement than others. Too many choices can be difficult to implement, but don't avoid a card for fear of its feasibility in the real world. A controversial choice may be difficult to implement, but well worth the effort in the improvement it can deliver. At any time, you can show your hand, sort the cards by strategy in the pull-down menu or sort them by the size of their impact on the budget by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.

Create a free ERS account to save and manage your hands.

Select your budget target: