DREAM: The Free Cost-modeling Tool for School Districts

DREAMIn the current economic climate, with budget cuts a necessity and many states seeing their education budget battles going to state supreme courts, states and districts need help weathering the storm.  DREAM hopes to help states and districts do just that with a “new way to explore school budgets.”

DREAM was created by Education Resource Strategies (ERS), “a non-profit organization dedicated to helping urban school systems organize talent, time and money to create great schools at scale.”

DREAM employs algorithms which make it easy for school leaders to consider changes to their budgets, and see what those changes would actually mean.

According to the DREAM website, “You can do less with less, or you can change your district’s cost model by rethinking how schools and systems are structured. DREAM allows you to adjust key cost levers in your district and instantly see how these changes impact your budget and other critical measures.”

“DREAM uses the most recent available (2009-10 data in most areas, 2008-09 financial data) NCES Common Core of Data (CCD) to generate a cost model for your district. This model is represented as a series of ‘sliders,’ each representing a key cost lever. By adjusting the sliders, you can drive changes in cost and other important measures of quality and efficiency such as time or class size.”

You can give it a try at the DREAM website: http://www.erstools.org/dream