Good evening DCPS Budget Team and Chancellor Ferebee. I am Sandra Moscoso, a member of the School Without Walls High School Home and School Association (HSA) and LSAT and an officer of the Ward 2 and Ward 6 education councils.
Our schools need budget stability. Unfortunately, year after year, central office has not been successful in securing budgets that meet the needs of our schools. Funding gaps are only filled after citywide fights that require DC Council to intervene.
The erratic budget process is exacerbating teacher turnover. Please correct this by providing schools with adequate budget envelopes from the start.
Even in circumstances when communities succeed in restoring budgets and positions, trust is lost and educators leave, seeking stability.
At School Without Walls, this played out in SY22 when a foreign language teacher’s position was cut. After months of city-wide advocacy, the position was restored. However, the damage was done, and the teacher, a 10 year veteran at the school, left. On paper, the position was funded, but in reality, many students paid the price of a chaotic semester without a teacher.
What will happen in SY24? Under the current DCPS budget model, when DCPS’ mystery temporary stability funds are gone, as things stand, School Without Walls will lose 3 staff members. Not due to a drop in enrollment, not due to a drop in student needs, but due to DCPS’ underfunding of the school.
DCPS must fund new requirements, not force schools to cut programming.
Changes to DCPS policy and requirements that don’t come with budget support cause damage to school programming. We learned this lesson from Hardy’s LSAT about the devastating impact a change in Special Education funding requirements had on the school’s scheduling and student access to music, foreign language and more. New policies or funding needs should not require principals to cut existing school resources and programming.
Fund, implement, maintain, and provide oversight of technology.
I support Digital Equity in DC Schools’ calls for strengthening rollout of devices for students and teachers, implementation and replacement of smartboards (School Without Walls HS is in dire need of working smartboards), improving tech support and asset management, and strengthening digital literacy.
Finally, please finalize the WTU contract with an agreement that is fit for 2022. An agreement that addresses wages, planning time and job flexibility.