Bike to School Day is May 5, 2021 at Lincoln Park – Register & Save the Date!

Like Walk to School Day, Bike to School Day will look a little different this year (masks and distancing, a must!). What will stay the same is our community coming together in support of safe routes to school and to enjoy our favorite party on wheels!!!

For now, get ready by:

  • Step 1: Mark your Calendar –> May 5, 2021, 7:45-8:15 AM @ Lincoln Park.
  • Step 2: Register your school‘s event (or your participation in the Lincoln Park event) HERE!!
  • Step 3: Tell all your friends about Steps 1 and 2!

Citywide Outdoor Story Time is April 14, 2021

Art by 9 year old Agnes

Art by 9 year old Agnes

On April 14th, OUTDOOR STORY TIME will happen in EVERY WARD of the city nearly simultaneously to unite the city with children and outdoor learning.   All wards will be reading the same book supplied by the DC Public Library.  

In Ward 6, Outdoor Story Time will take place:

This is organized by the DC State Board of Education.  For more questions contact DC SBOE representative Allister  Chang Allister.Chang1@dc.gov  or 301 768 3638 

Follow up (Letter to Mayor Bowser): Our Students and Schools Need More Funding, Not Cuts

April 7, 2021

Dear Mayor Bowser,

We are reaching out on behalf of Ward education councils and community leaders across DC to request a meeting with you where we can discuss your administration’s plans for restoring school staff positions that were eliminated in FY22 school budget allocations and investing more in schools that have great needs. 

On April 2, members of our community detailed to Council how the proposed cuts to staffing and resources will hurt our schools. Our city is watching and waiting for an immediate solution.

For your reference, please find our original letter and petition here, and the names and comments of the ~1240 signatories from ~100 schools across all 8 wards attached.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sponsors:

Ward 2 Education Council

Ward 3 Wilson Feeder Education Network

Ward 4 Education Alliance

Ward 5 Education Equity Committee

Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization

Ward 7 Education Council

Ward 8 Education Council

Alexandra Simbana, Ward 1 Schools

Layla Bonnot, 1A01
Christine Miller, 1A05
Judson Wood, 1A06
Jason Clock, 1A12
Lisa Gore, 3G01
Evan Yeats, 4B01
Erin Palmer, 4B02
Tiffani Nichole Johnson, 4B06
Colleen Costello, 5B05
Robb Dooling, 6A06
Dorothy Douglas, 7D03

DC Fiscal Policy Institute


To:

Mayor Muriel Bowser
Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn
Chancellor Lewis Ferebee

CC:

DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson
Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau
Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh
Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen
Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray
Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White

At-Large Councilmember Robert White
At-Large Counclmember Christina Henderson
At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds
At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman

Council Education Staff
Petition Sponsors

PARCC is Officially Canceled This Year!

Dear DC School Community Members,

It’s official! PARCC is canceled this year!

Yesterday, the US Department of Education approved the waiver request submitted by the DC Office of the State Superintendent for Education.  Thank YOU ALL for your advocacy and support and thank you to the Ward Education Councils, PTO/LSAT and community leaders who helped get the word out.

The support from city leaders was also important – we hold them accountable and thank them when they show up. Notably, Ward 6 Councilmember Allen, Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced legislation in support of canceling PARCC.

Similarly, DC State Board of Education (SBOE) President Parker (Ward 5), Ward 8 Representative Dr. Reid, and At-Large Representative Patterson also publicly supported the waiver request.

This is mercifully our *final* communication on this (yay!) so we want to end with a virtual round of applause for a community coming together. Be sure to reach out to your ward education council, teacher group, and community leaders (contact info below) on how to stay connected with local education issues. Many eyes help to hold our education institutions accountable.

Very best,

Sandra, Suzanne, and Alex

(Wards 6/2/4/1 Moms)


Alexandra Simbana, Ward 1 Schools Advocate

Ward 2 Education Council

Ward 3 Wilson Feeder Education Network

Ward 4 Education Alliance

Ward 5 Education Equity Committee

Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization

Ward 7 Education Council

Ward 8 Education Council

Senior High Alliance for Parents Principals and Educators (SHAPPE)

Coalition for DC Public Schools and Communities (C4DC)

EmpowerEd

W6PSPO Mourns the Sudden and Tragic Passing of Liz Davis

Photo Credit: Suzanne Wells

The Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization mourns the sudden and tragic passing of Liz Davis, the President of the Washington Teachers’ Union. Liz was a fierce advocate for teachers. She transformed the WTU into one of the most powerful teachers unions in the country. Her work was always grounded by her four decades teaching in the public schools.

Liz was also a masterful organizer. She understood the importance of bringing parent voices to the table. As was characteristic of Liz, she called in for the March 2021 W6PSPO meeting to help her learn more about parent issues with reopening schools.

We take this time to mourn with Liz’s family, friends and colleagues. We vow to honor Liz by continuing her work to ensure an equitable education for every child.

Ward 4 Education Alliance – COW Hearing: DCPS Initial School Level Budgets FY22 – April 2, 2021

Committee of the Whole Public Roundtable on DCPS Initial School Level Budgets

Cathy Reilly on Behalf of the Ward 4 Education Alliance

April 2, 2021, 9:30am

Thank you for this opportunity to testify on the DCPS local school budgets.  My name is Cathy Reilly and I am here testifying on behalf of the Ward 4 Education Alliance and  the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators SHAPPE.  I am a member of C4DC.

We are strong proponents of stable staffing and equity always, but especially now. 

Along with inflation and the supplanting of at-risk dollars, enrollment projections affect the local school budgets. For FY22, they were difficult to make and DCPS was conservative. The harm in being understaffed when additional students arrive is great. Being short social workers and teachers for students coming back to school or arriving in this country is just irresponsible. Hiring strong staff in the fall is too late.  However,the gain is exponentially positive, if there are more staff than the student/teacher ratios require. It might result in having smaller class sizes or being able to pivot to serving some in person and some virtually. 

Ward 4 DCPS schools have a high number of ELL families and the projections are down at most of the schools. Our schools will not be adequately prepared to provide the educational opportunities these students, potentially coming to our schools, deserve.  All told, 20 ELL teachers have been cut from the Ward 4 school budgets as well as 14 general Ed positions. 

The number of children and families at the border verifies the need for us to plan. While many have been able to keep bilingual staff, it has come at some cost to other areas. This is an example of the staffing cuts that are not sustainable.  The schools, primarily in wards 4 and 1 serving a high proportion of these students, have actually needed more bilingual staff throughout the pandemic. The skill sets of these staff members are incredibly difficult to replace. 

Powell, MacFarland, Roosevelt, CHEC, Cardozo, Cleveland and Bruce Monroe have the challenge of staffing bilingual programs.  Takoma also saw cuts which will affect its ability to provide the integrated arts program they have been building. CHEC has basically maintained its enrollment but is seeing a cut in its budget. It serves the highest number of at risk students as well as a high number of ELL.  

Whittier, Takoma,  Brightwood and LaSalle are transitioning to elementary as Ida B Wells takes in a full middle school. These schools received stabilization funds but also saw cuts that will make it difficult to sustain the services to their PreK-3-5th graders.  For Dorothy Height, moving to a swing space and losing close to 400 million, the stabilization funding was woefully inadequate.  

West is pleased and excited to enter their new building in the fall.  However, as they welcome two new self-contained special education classrooms, they are also projected to lose ELL students and staff. They are projected to gain 11 students, which from past experience seems far too low for a brand new modernized school.  West is actually losing funds for the coming year. 

The funds for 6 extended day programs were moved to stimulus funds limiting them. Before, they had been part of the budget. These funds and funds for enrichment should be built into the budgets as students return. Truesdell has expressed the need many feel for expanded outdoor learning, and more opportunities for enrichment, not fewer.  

For the DCPS high schools:

These will be highlighted as part of the ward testimonies. To maintain our DCPS infrastructure we have to invest in and grow the neighborhood feeder patterns.  Neighborhood High schools, Woodson, Anacostia and Cardozo received stabilization funds. These absolutely  need to be continued and expanded with long term planning in those areas.  While the balance between large and small schools is tough to strike, DCPS has to do better.  Wilson and CHEC each saw significant cuts, losing crucial and long term staff.  The American Rescue Plan funds are for three years.  This is an opportunity to build for DCPS. It is crucial.

The capital issues in Ward 4 are acute and have to be noted as part of your budget deliberations. They will have a definite impact on any return to school plans:

1 The crowding at Roosevelt where Roosevelt STAY is co-located needs a solution.  STAY is a strong and vital opportunity academy, especially since DCPS closed Washington Met.  It needs its own building in this part of town.   

2 The crowding at Ida B  Wells and Coolidge also needs a solution in next year’s budget. The capacity of the shared cafeteria as noted on a plaque on the wall is 167 people.  The projected enrollment which they will meet is 1250. It is impossible to have enough lunch periods to accommodate this in the 6 hour school day. The Spanish and Enrichment teachers at Ida B Wells will lose their classroom space.

3 The issues at the phase 1 elementary schools have only grown. Whittier, Truesdall, and Lasalle have made a compelling case for a full modernization soon.  Truesdell and Whittier are not ADA compliant (which is against the law) and have not been for years.   Powell is scheduled for HVAC work this summer.  All of our schools have had significant quality control issues with the work of DGS.  

The restoration of the funding for these positions that were cut and immediate work on our school buildings is paramount.  Thank you

ANC4B01 – COW Hearing: DCPS Initial School Level Budgets FY22 – April 2, 2021

Testimony of Evan Yeats on Behalf of ANC4B01

Committee of the Whole Public Roundtable on DCPS Initial School Level Budgets

April 2, 2021, 9:30am

Dear Chair Mendelson and Councilmembers:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this written testimony. This testimony is largely based Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Priorities, passed unanimously at a properly-noticed meeting by our Commission on March 22, 2021.

Students, families, and schools have faced unprecedented challenges over the previous year. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) public health emergency deepened already existing inequities that have plagued the District’s public education system. The challenges facing schools in DC demand a budget that prioritizes students across the District through an equity framework. Previous attempts to ensure equity have not succeeded — particularly in ensuring funding for at-risk students follows those students to their school and supplements existing funding — and current budgeting practices will only perpetuate those gaps. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B supports a budget that not only mitigates the harm caused to students and schools through the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, but also works to erase longstanding gaps in funding for students of color, low-income students, English-language learners, students with disabilities, and their schools.

In Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)’s initial proposed budgets include significant cuts at Takoma Education Campus, Whittier Education Campus and Lasalle-Backus Education Campus. Each one of these schools serves student populations with significant need, but that need is not met by the proposed DCPS budgets. While DCPS has testified that the losses of general education teacher positions are caused by the transition of students from the education campus to Ida B. Wells Middle School, the Ida B. Wells middle school budget has not been increased by an equivalent number of general education teaching positions. 

In addition, these schools are losing seven English as a Second Language teacher positions, of the 57 being cut across DCPS. Students learning English are among those supposedly targeted for additional support by DCPS, however, by cutting the teaching staff they rely upon and have built relationships with, DCPS is undermining these students. 

These schools were also negatively impacted by DCPS’s decision to forgo federal Head Start grant funding and lay off 83 staff members working with vulnerable early childhood populations. It means that further staff cuts compound already existing decisions to remove supports in vulnerable school communities. 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B requests the Fiscal Year 2022 budget for the District of Columbia fully fund individual District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) school budgets and ensure that no school experiences staff or program cuts of any kind so that federal and local relief funding are in addition to existing staff and resources at schools. In addition, ANC 4B has requested that federal relief funds for DCPS provide school-level support and flexibility instead of being spent centrally and externally by requiring that DCPS issue guidance to principals stating that funds can be used for staffing, can be spent over time, and do not require immediate obligation. 
DCPS has received or will receive shortly $277,517,055.14 in federal relief funding. Instead of using the money to retain highly-trained and experienced staff that our children know and love and that serve students with some of the most need, they are instead hiring temporary tutors and non-teaching staff. The “several hundred” monitor positions that DCPS recently opened to hiring are “long-term temporary” with no benefits and low pay. These budgeting decisions are irresponsible, immoral and do not reflect a commitment to our children and our values or to the success of our children. They are also completely unnecessary.

Ward 7 Education Council – COW Hearing: DCPS Initial School Level Budgets FY22 – April 2, 2021

Dr. Marla M. Dean Testimony on Behalf of Ward 7 Education Council

Committee of the Whole Public Roundtable on DCPS Initial School Level Budgets

April 2, 2021, 9:30am

Good Morning Chairman Mendelson, Councilmembers and Council Staff. Thank you for the opportunity to come before you this morning. I am Dr. Marla M. Dean, ED/CEO of Bright Beginnings, Inc, a DC nonprofit that operates child and family learning centers serving those largely located in Wards 7 & 8 who as the current Mayor has stated “farthest away from opportunity.” But today, I come before you in my current capacity as Legislative Chair of the Ward 7 Education Council (W7EC) but also as the incoming Chair of the Ward 7 Education Council.

The Ward 7 Education Council supports the petition being currently circulated through the Action Network that calls for more funding to schools and no cuts. I am positive in this era of recovery, after suffering the worst moments of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can all coalesce around the idea of “no cuts to schools”. But the important question is — will schools receive increased funding to support the whole child, and the impact on families and communities?

This question is the one I hope to elucidate this morning.

  1. Last night, the W7EC met, and we learned about our schools receiving reduced initial budgets. Many LSATs and principals have successfully petitioned the District to recoup some of their funding cuts but no school has escaped impact.
    • Schools have had to cut FTEs; reduce some staff to part time; or plan to dismantle important programming in order to balance their budgets.
    • No schools are in a place to bring on innovative programming to help mitigate the experience of the last year.
    • One school has a new principal and thought that it was vital to have a vice principal to support the new leadership. To make this happen, this school reduced some staff to part time.
    • For some schools to retain staff, they were left with the reality that they could do nothing else.
    • While other schools are simply losing FTEs.
    • Vital programs like before and after care have been impacted.
    • Schools are at risks of not having librarians, music, art or PE instructors.
    • Schools have had to eliminate funding for digital learning software and student licenses, funds for college tours, funds for experiential learning off campus, funds for computer devices for teachers and students, and funds for student and teacher celebrations and recognition.

After the experience of COVID-19 and the unknown traumas that will most certainly reveal itself over time, losing staff or cutting programming that ensures that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged cannot be our way forward. We must employ a whole child approach.

2. We must also plan for the future and the inevitable. Special education supports were already a concern before the pandemic and the need will undoubtedly increase as schools fully come online and students return to the building.

  • We can anticipate that more students will need to be referred for services. We already have an indicator for this emerging need as violent crime has increased among youth.
  • Before the pandemic many schools did not have Special Education Coordinators who did not have teaching loads. Special Education Coordinators do exactly what their title indicates, coordinate vital services. But they also are serve as crisis intervenors, liaisons with parents, and advocates for students. Every school should have a Special Education Coordinator who is duty free from any and all teaching responsibilities. This is a minimum requirement to meet this need that is mandated by law for our students.

3. We must not over rely on community-based organizations and contractors to fill the gaps that we know many of our children will have when they return to their schools. This new term “high dosage tutoring” is one that gives me great pause. If we employ a deficit lens to addressing this issue, we will surely disenfranchise our most vulnerable and marginalized students.

  • The way forward must be investing in high expertise teaching. Staff that is in schools daily have the best opportunity to build respect and rapport between staff and students. There can be no supplanting of full-time staff to meet this need.
  • We have heard that schools have been told they should not increase staffing because of the cliffing effect. This is reference to the anticipated federal funding that is scheduled to arrive in the near future.
  • The reality is that community-based organizations or contractors will experience that same cliffing effect because overtime their funding will sunset. So, we cannot use community-based organizations to supplant the needed staffing of our schools. I am a leader of a community-based organization. They play a vital role. But their role is to supplement not supplant staffing.
  • Again, staff that are with our students, day in and day out and for the full day, are our best hope for recovery from this devastating experience our children have endured.

4. Finally, there is a movement afoot to convert to a student-based budgeting staffing model. I am a proponent for student-based budgeting. But not in DC where schools are small and there are over 60 LEAs and where no economies of scale can be employed. We need a strong comprehensive staffing model that ensures all schools have a baseline of staff and programming or we will see more and more students disengage from learning. This is a topic for a future day but it is one to watch for and ask questions about before it is implemented.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Mary Levy Testimony – COW Hearing: DCPS Initial School Level Budgets FY22 – April 2, 2021

Mary Levy Testimony

Committee of the Whole Public Roundtable on DCPS Initial School Level Budgets

April 2, 2021, 9:30am

As an education finance lawyer, a budget and policy analyst, and a DCPS parent, I have studied DCPS local school and overall budgets for 40 years.  When DCPS posted proposed local school budgets for next year, a small group of us downloaded and converted them to spreadsheet.  I recently completed systemwide analysis of these budgets.  Preliminary results (numbers may change for a few schools) are that 49 of 115 schools will lose dollar funding and 38 will lose allocated positions. One quarter of the former have very small or no enrollment loss. As in previous years, school buying power is down, by 2.2% for FY 2022. The average increase in dollars is 1.2% while the average teacher cost is rising 1.5%, administrators over 2%, aides 12%, office staff over 13%.  

Changes in some crucial categories:

The effects of all this differ among schools. 

  • Forty-nine schools are actually losing money compared with their last year’s final budgets, while 66 are gaining, though most are gaining little.  Thirty-eight schools are losing allocated positions.  Because additional positions are funded through undesignated funds, such as Chancellor’s Assistance, Per Pupil Funding Minimum, Stabilization, and Title I, the first three of which vary by school from year to year, the total number of staff losses may be higher.
  • When DCPS diverts 40% of at-risk money into basic services, it does not take it evenly even among schools with similar demographics, or from the same school from year to year.
  • On top of Comprehensive Staffing Model basic program and at-risk funds, DCPS awards  separate amounts of money to selected schools for special programs and undesignated purposes.  The basis on which these are selected is not explained and can vary from year to year.  [See Preliminary Analysis, pdf DetailxSch]
  • CSM cutoffs of 300 or 400 for staff allocations create contrasts between schools with projected enrollments close to the cutoffs.  For example, a school of 295 has higher pupil staff ratios than one of 305.

Due to all of the above factors, per pupil funding for general education varies greatly among schools.  “General education” is the remainder when at-risk, special education, ELL and federal funding are filtered out.  One would expect general education per pupil funding among schools with the same grade levels to be similar except for adjustments for size, since small schools have higher costs.  Yet some schools of similar size have general education per pupil funding differing by many hundreds of dollars.  [See Preliminary Analysis, pdf DetailxSch] In considering remedial measures, these factors mean that schools do not all start in the same place.  Some have less money per pupil than others for the same services due to arbitrary cutoffs and allocation practices that at least appear to be random. 

Three significant factors drive the overall budget situation this year:

  1. Schools are, as usual, losing buying power because costs for almost all staff are up, as is inflation for non-staff costs.  Every school has lost buying power, with small variations depending on their mix of staff positions and non-personnel funding.  Overall, school buying power is down by 2.2%.  [See Preliminary Analysis, FY22 at FY21 Cost]
  • Enrollment projections for next year are down compared to those on which this year’s budgets were based.  This is a hangover from a decrease in actual enrollment this year, at least actual enrollment as of October 5.  No information is available on how many returned or transferred in after that date.  Projections are disproportionately down for at-risk students, which means that their schools are losing money disproportionately. [See Preliminary Analysis, FY21&FY22 web]
  • As happens every year DCPS diverts about 40% of the money designated by law for services to at-risk students to pay for basic program services available to all students.  This is particularly unfair because schools with low numbers of at-risk students have little at-risk money to divert, while schools with many at-risk students have a lot syphoned off, leaving at-risk students without the kinds of services to which they are legally entitled.  [See Preliminary Analysis, pdf DetailxSch]

Whereas this year’s budgets are pre-pandemic budgets, next year’s are non-pandemic budgets.  Although federal Covid funding will be available, DCPS does not permit it to be used to save staff positions.  It may be used for non-personal items such as technology and staff paid by the hour, but not to retain a school’s current staff.

Finally, as of mid-March, 2021, we do not know the Final Initial Allocations to schools, nor how much money DCPS will have in total.  The amount in central accounts will be announced only when the Mayor releases her proposed budget in late April.  For many years I have categorized DCPS employees by a consistent set of definitions based on whether or not they serve students directly, which is what most of the public want to know when they ask about central office or “administration.”[1]  The number of central office employees has decreased a little recently but is still much higher than in years much earlier when enrollment was much higher. The number of central office full-time equivalent staff performing the same functions that DCPS now performs rose from 516 in 1981, when we had 95,000 students to 626 in 2007, when we had 52,000, and as of last month to 701 for 50,000.  They include 4 Executive Directors, 9 Chiefs, 24 Deputy Chiefs, 75 Directors, 165 Managers and 41 Analysts.  The system needs some number of these officials, and those who are good are worth a great deal.  But do we really need 35 Executive Directors, Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs?  75 Directors? 165 Managers?  Could some of these positions not be redirected to retain local school staff?

[1] The source is personnel department lists of DCPS employees, obtained by FOIA or from submissions to the D.C. Board of Education (before FY 2008) or to the DC Council (since FY 2008), based on office of employment, program codes, job title, purpose of applicable grant funding, and DCPS website descriptions.  Employees performing functions subsequently transferred or contracted out are excluded in the earlier year calculations.

Ward 1 Education Council Testimony – COW Hearing: DCPS Initial School Level Budgets FY22 – April 2, 2021

On Behalf of the Ward 1 Education Council

Committee of the Whole Public Roundtable on DCPS Initial School Level Budgets

April 2, 2021, 9:30am

Good morning Chairman and Councilmembers. My name is Alexandra Simbana, a parent of a 3rd grader at Cleveland Elementary, a member of my school’s LSAT and member of the Ward 1 Education Council. 

As always schools are in flux and in a state of uncertainty during Term 3 and into Term 4; dividing time and resources over their unknown future. A universal feeling of not knowing what you will lose and how you will still meet the needs of your students in the next year is not unusual but THIS YEAR is a burden the schools, staff and families should not need to balance, when so much Federal funding is available to help stabilize the overwhelming needs which have only worsened during the pandemic. The city must allow DCPS schools to use federal and other pandemic special funding on staff.  By not doing so, we are asking schools to cut school-based staff who already have strong relationships with students, while hiring for temporary programs which are less effective, all in the hope of makeup for the loss of school-based staff on top of the trauma caused by the pandemic.

As one community member states: “We don’t know exactly what we will lose in this budget cycle and schools try to retain staff but that comes at the cost of other resources like professional development, classroom materials, and extracurricular programming. DCPS can claim budgets are rising when functionally they are not due to increased costs.”  

While all our Ward 1 schools are unique and they have varying needs, each community has significantly varied ability to cover school priorities outside of school budget allotments. The financial costs of what is needed to supply additional personnel support is too much for ANY school PTA/PTO to cover on their own and that approach would only continue the inequities between schools who have funds and those who don’t. 

In Ward 1 four of our schools will experience a loss of funding ranging from $223k – $437K. Most of our schools are known for their high concentration of English Language Learning students within the City. The pandemic has hit their community particularly hard and all our schools anticipate a greater need to service these students. Given the populations at our schools, most will not be able to mitigate even a fraction of the losses to their school budgets to help support the students who will require more assistance when returning to class in the Fall. And yet, we hear reports of funding cuts across the City to ELL positions. Given the vulnerability of this community, it is extremely irresponsible and inequitable to remove the support they will need.  As we all have experienced in the past, once positions are removed from the school budgets they very rarely are returned the next year. 

Cardozo which is set to lose $437.1K in this budget cycle. This school which serves as a combined middle school and high school in addition to their International Academy has an 80% At-risk population. Cardozo is also a school who will more than likely see the greatest number of additional students arrive for SY21-22 because of the population and programming they offer. How can we realistically expect these schools to service their students with such high impact changes?

For all our Ward 1 schools maintaining staff positions for janitorial staff, security personnel and support staff positions will be critical in any phased in reopening plan which will require more staff coverage per smaller cohort units, ensuring adherence to safety protocols and mandatory cleaning regimes to ensure pandemic protocols are followed as more students return to in person learning in the coming months. Just as important to maintaining physical health will be to provide emotional support and resources which is why we ask that school staff be kept whole at ALL our schools. 

The school which will have significant cuts again this year is CHEC. They will lose $-265.3K in this budget cycle.For the last several years CHEC has experienced a significant reduction in their school budget. In SY 2019, they already suffered a $250k reduction in budget but come the Fall they had an additional 119 students to service. A CHEC LSAT member said: There is no mechanism to correct these budget miscalculations and again our DCPS schools, staff and students are made to pay the price [of] being under resourced. The staff reductions implications to this school will further traumatize this school community. Once these budgets are approved there will be no recourse for these schools and they will again need to service their larger school population with less resources

The CHEC budget is of great concern, because they’re losing four positions, and their funding is the lowest per pupil based on enrollment in the City.  The At-Risk funds are being designated for general education purposes.  According to the preliminary budget analysis by the Coalition for DC Public Schools and Communities, per pupil funding for “general education” varies greatly among schools.  General education is the remainder when at-risk, special education, ELL and federal funding are filtered out.  One would expect general education per pupil funding among schools with the same grade levels to be similar except for adjustments for size, since small schools have higher costs.  Yet some schools of similar size have general education per pupil funding differing by many hundreds of dollars.  This has substantial repercussions for CHEC because of its high number of at-risk, special education and ELL students.  Among DCPS high schools, CHEC consistently receives the lowest amount of discretionary funding (Specialty Funds, Stabilization Funds, Chancellor’s Budget Support, and Per Pupil Minimum Payment), can this disparity be reversed? How can the adverse impacts of these inequities be mitigated for all the Ward 1 schools whose student populations include significant ELL, special needs and homeless populations? 

There are also many questions about the criteria or method used to derive the additional stimulus funding allotments. During the education hearings DCPS was asked for this information and no response was ever provided. 

Our students are paying attention and they see how the system is not prioritizing their needs. As a student leader says, “Why do the decisions (sic) about the budget have to lead to schools having to cut staff? We all know that next year will be all about recovery. Students will need every support accessible to them to feel welcomed, feel like they belong, feel supported, [and] have someone to talk to, feel less stressed, and just recover! We can’t justify or say that the summer activities are going to be (sic) enough. We can’t cut off staff and say that you have been given the choice to add another psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist and [make] it seem right. We can’t say that we want the best for our students when we know they need every resource [available] to have a transition as smooth and supportive as possible when we are continuing to do the opposite.”

Our school budgets must reflect our value of the work schools do, the work and learning we ask students to do academically and socially as the mechanism to become members of our community after they graduate. Unless we prioritize Federal and surplus local funds, we are merely giving lip service to the idea that education matters or that every day counts.

Thank you.  

BANCROFT: Unaffected

BRUCE MONROE: Unaffected

CLEVELAND: Losing $-228K in this budget

HD COOKE: Unaffected

MARIE REED: Unaffected

TUBMAN: Losing $-223.3K in this budget.

ADAMS MS: Unknown due to combined Oyster budget

CARDOZO: Losing $-437.1K in this budget

CHEC:Losing $-265.3K in this budget. 

BANNEKER HS: Unaffected

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