budget change


What's Behind Hold'em?

The original game of School Budget Hold'em evolved out of ERS' experience working with large urban districts around the country. Our goal was to create an engaging, interactive way for administrators to think differently about how they allocate resources. The budget impacts associated with various "card" choices are estimates based on real districts—your circumstances may vary.

In recent years, ERS identified a need for school leaders to do the same, and thus created School Level Hold'Em. This school-facing game includes choices that school leaders make in their budget process, based on real schools, and the types of school-level trade-offs and investments that support student improvement.

Change the Game

What if budget season represented a meaningful chance to re-prioritize? What if the budget season were a time for dreams and visions? What kinds of schools would we imagine for our own children and for the talented teachers in them? School Budget Hold'em lets you take a moment to explore how school improvement can take place even with constrained resourcesyour dreams and visions. Suspend disbelief and see how thinking differently can drive game-changing transformation.

Essential Designs for Strategy School Design

ERS’s school design framework is organized around six essentials for strategy school design. High-performing schools organize their resources around these essentials, prioritizing the areas that are of greatest need in their school.

  1. Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
  2. Positive Adult Culture
  3. Collaborative Work and Professional Growth Structures
  4. School Community & Social Emotional Support
  5. Personalized Learning
  6. Talent Management & Teacher Leadership

For more information on ERS’s school design framework, visit ERS’s School Designer platform, which has detailed content, school profiles, and planning and implementation considerations for each of the six essentials.

School Budget Hold'em was made possible through funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Select your budget target:


"I love the game! I think this site can make a major contribution to K-12 districts as we struggle with decreasing revenue streams and increased expectations for performance."