In these budget-crunched times, students and parents spend too much time fundraising to offset school budget cuts. However, it's pretty rare for a school district to reach out to the community for suggestions on how they can save money, eliminate waste, and speed up administrative processes. Faced with a $390 million budget deficit, this spring the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest district, decided to do just that with their My Bright Idea Challenge, an effort to crowdsource new ideas for doing things more efficiently.
In just one month the campaign received 1,300 submissions from students, parents, teachers, and administrative staff. Many suggestions were things that the district is already considering, like saving money by switching to digital textbooks or installing motion-activated lights. (Others, like the recommendation that the district completely shut down its central office, were politely rejected.)