Peter Sperry

If you have the time for it — Write each program or prioity name on a movable placard which displays cost (include maintianing school taxes as an item). Next, display them alphabetically on a vertical display. Next, ask by show of hands which items should be moved up (which requires moving others down). Repeat this process until everyone agrees the items are now listed in priority order from top to bottom. If maintaining school taxes at the current level is at the top, go down the list adding costs until you run out of funding and draw a line through the list. Everything below the line gets cut. If maintaining tax levels is NOT at the top of the list, initiate a discussion of how high they would have to be raised to fund the items higher on the list. You may have to run through the excercize a few times for people to fully appreciate the trade offs but it is process that has worked well in other areas.