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ERIC Number: ED541794
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Learning when to Hold'em and When to Fold'em: ERS's Budget Hold'em Game Facilitates the Budget Development Process in Memphis
Education Resource Strategies
If your school district is facing a budget issue, it might surprise you to learn that the solution might very well lie in a game of cards. That certainly was the case earlier this year for the city schools of Memphis, Tennessee. The game is called Budget Hold'em, and it was developed by Education Resource Strategies (ERS) of Watertown, Massachusetts, in 2010, after what ERS director Regis Shields describes as "a regular, yearlong resource mapping process" conducted on behalf of the Rochester, New York, school district. The previous year, each department in the district had been asked to cut 10% from its budget. While each duly complied, almost all also added new favorite projects or programs--with the result that, at the end of the process, the district had a net gain rather than a reduced proposed budget. In 2010, Rochester again faced budget cuts and tough decisions. Shields wanted to find a way to as she puts it, "develop a common language and understanding across the entire group about the decisions that needed to be made." Having grown up playing games, Shields thought it would be fun to create a card game that would facilitate the process. Budget Hold'em was first played at a meeting of the superintendent and his cabinet. Players were grouped in teams of two. Under the rules of the game, Strategic Investment and Strategic Reallocation cards had to be selected with a goal of balancing the budget. Each team in turn then shared its hand, so all the players could see where common decisions had been made--and what still needed discussion. "Everyone loved it," Shields declares. "They were really engaged in the process."
Education Resource Strategies. 480 Pleasant Street Suite C-200, Watertown, MA 02472. Tel: 617-607-8000; Fax: 617-600-6613; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Resource Strategies
Identifiers - Location: New York; Tennessee