Community schools are intended to respond to the needs of the students, their families, and their communities. Therefore the amount of money that is needed will vary depending on those circumstances.
What is most pivotal from a financing standpoint is money to pay for a Community School Coordinator. This individual is responsible for mobilizing community resources and integrating them into the life of the school. They can be employed by a school district, community-based organization or public agency.
Salaries for this position should be at a professional level and competitive with those of people in similar roles, e.g., teachers and social workers. Ideally, initial funding would be available for the salary of a full-time community school coordinator at a salary that gives them status at the school and encourages a long term commitment. Remember though, there is not an exact formula. Leadership and will are as important as money.
Full-time site coordination contributes essential site level capacity at minimal cost. Site coordination accounts for just 7 percent of the total funds reported collectively by initiatives and individual school sites in the Coalition's Finance Study (listed below). Coordination is an important but relatively inexpensive component of funding a community school.
Ways to Fund a Coordinator
A range of different funding streams are used to pay for the Coordinator position. Coordinators usually work with and are funded by a lead agency, such as a community-based organization, higher education institution, or public agency to provide additional site coordination. Note that both private and public funding can be used to fund the coordinator. Therefore, lead agencies can also look to local and state funding to support the coordination position.
The following forms of federal funding across the Department of Education and other federal agencies can be used in implementing a community schools strategy at your school including funding a community school coordinator:
For a list of other federal funding opportunities to help support 'wrap around' services as well as increase family and community engagement activities, click here.
Financing Community Schools: Leveraging Resources to Support Student Success provides an overview of how community school leaders are effectively, efficiently and creatively blending funding to do whatever it takes to support student success. It highlights the cost-effectiveness of the community school strategy, especially the coordination piece.