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DCPS Families – Please Complete this Back to School Safety, Tech, and Family Needs Survey

Dear Ward 6 DCPS Families and School Leaders,

Please provide feedback to the ward education councils on your DCPS students’ experiences during the first few weeks of school by completing this survey. The survey includes questions on DCPS health protocols, technology, and family needs. Your answers will inform discussions on how to best meet student needs. 

We hope you will also consider disseminating to your school communities and neighborhood networks. Results will be shared publicly near the end of September.

Survey Link: https://bit.ly/FamilySurveyDCPS

Helpful resources to support social media and paper dissemination HERE

Survey sponsors:
Ward 1 Education Council
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

W6PSPO Meets Tonight – Jan 17, 2023 @ 7PM

Dear Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization members,

1.  W6PSPO will meet on Tuesday, January 17 at 7 pm.  We will discuss the following:

a.  Catherine Frye will lead a discussion on whether Ward 6 schools are seeing migrant students who have been bussed to DC from border states enrolling in our schools, and what is being done to support these students;

b.  Grace Hu will update us on the Digital Equity in DC Education SY23/24 budget request;

c.  Kristin Sinclair who is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Georgetown University will share information about a study she is conducting on how youth, parents and other groups participate in education decision-making processes at their schools and across the city.  She is recruiting volunteers to participate in the study.

d.  We will discuss the W6PSPO priorities for 2023 including how we want to develop recommendations from Ward 6 for the Master Facilities Plan.If you registered for a previous W6PSPO meeting, the link you received for that meeting will work for this and future W6PSPO meetings.  If you 

don’t already have the meeting link, you can register at

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAudOqsqDorHdOqNZKiWVfvLL0TPp_az3Wp.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

2.  Please share the following with your school communities:

Dr. Kristin Sinclair from Georgetown University and Dr. Alisha Butler from Wesleyan University are conducting a study about how people work to influence local education policy decisions in their schools and communities in Washington, D.C. Please consider taking their brief, anonymous 10-minute survey to share your perspective on this important topic: 

Parent survey (English): https://wesleyan.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lBhdhRTXmImqhw
Parent survey (Spanish): https://wesleyan.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cXVkqNPRD2A5ise

3.  On Friday, December 16, OSSE released the revised draft of the Social Studies Standards.  OSSE is seeking input from the public on the proposed changes.  The 45-day public comment period is open through 5 p.m. ET on Monday, January 30, 2023. The new statewide standards are slated to be implemented by school year 2023–24 in District public schools. 
Hope to see you on Tuesday.
Suzanne Wells

Elizabeth Corinth Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Corinth. I am a ward 6 resident and the parent of three DCPS students at School-Within-School @ Goding, where I currently serve as the LSAT chair. As we prepare the DCPS budget allocations for FY24, we urgently need to address the insufficiency of the baseline budgets that schools receive. 

I challenge you to find a DCPS school that feels that its baseline budget allocation is truly sufficient for its baseline operations. I challenge you to find a DCPS school that didn’t find itself using one-time stabilization or recovery funds for expenses that are ongoing and part of its baseline operations in FY23. I challenge you to find a DCPS school that felt it had enough left over to adequately address the true specific and extraordinary recovery needs brought about by the pandemic. And I challenge you to find a DCPS school that is not deeply worried about what it will do next year when some of these one-time funds are no longer available. 

Most concerningly, I challenge you to find a DCPS school that did not use some amount of its targeted funds, intended to serve at-risk, special needs, and other underserved populations, towards expenses which are in fact part of the school’s general operations. When this is the state of affairs, we are failing those students with the greatest need by claiming to provide them with additional support but placing it on a crumbling foundation.

Also concerningly, I challenge you to find a DCPS school that doesn’t feel the need to tap into family donations and contributions, to whatever extent its community can provide them, in order to cover programs and services that they consider to be the bare minimum they should be providing to their students. Some schools are able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to supplement their programming, while other schools raise little to nothing from families. This exacerbates educational inequities by allowing schools that serve wealthy families to offer programs and services that other schools are not able to provide. Imagine a world in which we funded public schools not out of scarcity, but out of abundance, such that wealthy families did not feel the need to pour additional dollars into their child’s school. That is the world that students deserve, because that is a world where educational equity begins to become a real possibility.

As I listen to my fellow LSAT members from other schools in my ward and beyond discuss their annual budget allocation decisions, what I hear is that there is never enough. What I hear is that annual budget allocations consistently fail to keep pace with payroll increases, enrollment increases, inflation, and other drivers of rising cost, so that even what looks like an increase over last year’s budget often turns out to be, in effect, a decrease in spending power, necessitating further cuts to a budget that is already insufficient.

In Washington DC, in 2022, this should not be the situation in which we find ourselves. In order to move towards the educational equity which is our moral imperative, in order for targeted funds to truly and fully serve and support the students they are designed for, in order to uphold our political duty to make a quality public education available to every student regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, ability, zip code, or any other factor — we must take a hard look at the baseline budgets we are offering to schools, identify the many ways in which they fall short of meeting the true baseline needs of those schools, and immediately find a way to make up that difference, with a commitment to doing so on an ongoing rather than a one-time basis.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Stephen Kletter Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

Good evening. My name is Stephen Kletter and I am a practicing economist who has lived and worked in the District for over 25 years. I have two children that attend Jackson-Reed High School.

Over the past few years I have spent an enormous amount of my own time deciphering the old and new DCPS school funding budget models. Using my training in economics, I have identified significant problems with both models and I have shared my results with senior DCPS staff on multiple occasions and have testified before the city council.

A serious problem with the old CSM budget model was that it dramatically underfunded large schools, even after accounting for differences in student needs. For example, this flaw in the CMS budget model underfunded Alice Deal Middle School by over $2 million per year and the Alice Deal LSAT called upon DCPS to fix this chronic problem. To its credit, DCPS itself explicitly recognized this problem in its Summer 2020 budget presentations. However—and this is really disappointing—when the new DCPS budget model was unveiled for FY23, this fundamental problem was left completely unaddressed. As a result, many students in our city—including those that attend Alice Deal, CHEC, and Jackson-Reed—will continue to receive inadequate general educational funding simply because they attend a large school. It is long past time for DCPS to fix this mistake.

Remarkably, the new DCPS budget model is even worse than its predecessor. The new model cuts baseline General Education funding for many elementary schools across the city and a few middle schools such as Alice Deal and Hardy. The funding cuts per student are by far the largest in the Jackson-Reed feeder system.

Many LSATs may be unaware the new model has cut their baseline funding. That’s because DCPS supplemented their total FY23 funding amounts with what DCPS refers to as “One-time Stability Funds.” If your school received One-Time Stability Funds for FY23, it means—and this is important—that the new DCPS budget model has determined that the school’s baseline funding should be cut dramatically. These stability funds appear intended to temporarily mask—in an election year—the inevitable baseline funding cuts for these schools that are scheduled to kick-in in FY24 and continue going forward for the foreseeable future.

To calculate your school’s new baseline funding under the new budget model, simply subtract your school’s total funding amount by the amount of One-Time Funds you received. For example, doing this simple math for Alice Deal reveals that its baseline funding will be cut $750,000 relative to FY22.1 And when you properly account for lost purchasing power due to

Kletter – Public Statement for DCPS Budget Hearing – 11.16.2022

inflation, the true drop in baseline funding at Alice Deal is over $1 million.2 The pain, however, will not be felt until FY24 when the One-Time Funds disappear. Alice Deal received $1.8 million in One-Time funds, so next year it faces a fiscal cliff that could result in the elimination of a whopping 16 fulltime teaching positions.3 This is simply unacceptable and the new budget model must be fixed.4

Similarly, the elementary and middle schools that feed to Jackson-Reed High School collectively will lose $8.8 million in annual funding when One-Time Stability Funds are eliminated in FY24. This fiscal cliff represents a whopping 10% funding cut for the feeder system and will necessitate the elimination of nearly 80 fulltime teaching positions. Again, this is simply unacceptable and must be fixed.

I have attached a presentation that outlines this funding problem in detail. Thank you for your time and hard work.
Sincerely,
Stephen Kletter


1 Alice Deal received $16.7 million in total FY23 funding but $1.8 million of that amount was in One-Time Stability Funds. Excluding the One-Time Funds, Alice Deal’s true baseline funding under the new model is $14.9 million. That represents a drop of $750,000 as compared to FY22 where Alice Deal received $15.7 million.

2 Remarkably, total General Education funding (i.e., non-needs based) at Alice Deal has fallen by nearly $1.2 million ($1.9 million when inflation adjusted) relative to FY20. On an inflation-adjusted basis, this represents a drop of nearly $600 per student. These reported funding cut amounts are very conservative (due to FY23 submitted budgets underreporting ELL and SPED funding) and thus the true total cut to General Education funding at Alice Deal over this period is likely closer to $2.4 million on an inflation-adjusted basis.

3 The new budget model continues to penalize Deal for being a large school. Deal receives the lowest General Education funds per student of any school in DCPS (tied with Lafayette).

4 As mentioned above, Alice Deal had been chronically underfunded under the old budget model, so it was already starting in a funding hole.

See appendix below…

Sonja Walti – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

Thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s DCPS Public Budget Hearing, and thank you to my fellow participants and the public for guiding our school system’s use of resources. I am testifying here on behalf of School Without Walls High School’s Local School Advisory Team, to make three requests for DCPS’ 2023-24 school budget allocation. While speaking to our experience and needs, my testimony holds validity beyond the upcoming budget cycle and applies beyond our own high school’s challenges.
We contend that:

  1. Budgets need to fully fund our high school programming.
  2. Budget allocations need to account for building-related limits.
  3. Budgets need to be allocated in a fair as well as predictable manner.

Let me elaborate:
First, budgets need to fully fund our high school programming.
Post-2020, our high schools need student-centered programs, social-emotional support, and robust academic programs that fill pandemic-induced gaps while preparing our students for tomorrow’s complex realities. At School Without Walls, academic support, tutoring, and mental health support via our partnership with George Washington University have been making a difference. Those programs need continuity and funding. We also need to support teachers to continue the important work they do catching up students and mentoring them through difficult
times. Our students need global skills, including world languages, and hands-on proficiencies for college and career. Small as it is, School Without Walls needs support and budgetary leeway to capitalize on its partnership with George Washington University.

At School Without Walls, the federal School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) has been supplementing our budget, including paying for two social workers. When ESSER runs out – amidst added inflation – our schools are headed for a fiscal cliff. School Without Walls High School runs a lean program as it is, with faculty and staff wearing multiple hats. Any cuts go right to the bone, meaning teachers, core programs, and student support. The social and economic costs, especially in today’s circumstances, would compound for years to come.

We request that our school budgets be fully funded, accounting for any losses of discretionary federal funding.

Second, budget allocations need to account for building-related limits.

DCPS’ ill-conceived student-based budgeting system continues to make increasing enrollments the sole secure path to safeguarding a school’s budget in a manner that fully funds its teachers, staff, materials, and existing programs, thus fueling an absurd ratcheting up of estimated and oft outperformed enrollment numbers.

Nowhere is this cutthroat dynamic more obvious than at School Without Walls High School. With now over 600 students in a tiny building, which the 2018 Master Facilities Plan (p. A-52) says is built for no more than 520 students, we’re well past our full enrollment number – and outpacing the 5- and 10-year enrollment estimates underpinning that Plan’s 2021 update (p. 9); and this in a building that was last modernized in 2009 and whose systems are failing.

A 2013 report commissioned by the Deputy Mayor of Education says our high schools need at least 192 square feet per student. Per the 2018 Master Facilities Plan, Walls offered 115 square feet per student, so not even two thirds of that minimum (see this testimony’s Appendix for details). In other words, there were 1.6 students for every 1 student our building could sustain at the most per those standards; and we have since added another 15 students. As a point of comparison: even Jackson-Reed (the second most crowded DC public high school) counted 200 square feet per student, so almost twice what a Walls student is granted today.

Picture this: Our over 600 students are now crammed into oversubscribed classrooms, which thirty-eight full-time and nine adjunct teachers share. Theater is taught in the cafeteria while fielding balls flying over from gym class, held on the other end of the cafeteria. (For your information, Walls does not have a gym.) Classroom-less teachers cart their materials through the building (up multiple flights of stairs, by the way, because the one elevator in the building remained out of service for weeks). And teachers are left with no place to meet privately with students, let alone gather and recharge. And the greatest concern of all: Seeing how slowly and tightly packed our students fill hallways and two narrow staircases while evacuating the building – twice in the last weeks due to gas from a failing plumbing system – I don’t dare to imagine the disaster we’d face in case of a shooting or a fire.

Building capacity limits are critical when allocating budgets and developing algorithms to do so, so that staffing and programmatic costs can be met without ratcheting up enrollments.

Budgets need to be allocated in a fair as well as predictable manner.

Our DCPS budgeting process foresees that the principal – under advisement from their Local School Advisory Team – allocates an initial budget (a suggestion of sorts) in a way that will finance its staffing, materials, and programmatic needs. In reality, this happens within exceedingly narrow parameters: so many students, so many teachers, so many staff, so many advisors, so many computers etc. If there is anything left to decide, it’s usually how much paper to purchase, whether more soap is needed, and how much overtime custodians can work. Key decisions otherwise revolve around which positions to cut: teachers, social workers, librarians, or special educators.

After initial budget allocations are made follows the annual “game to reclaim”: notorious “loser” schools – among which School Without Walls finds itself year after year due to its small size – throw themselves into the fray to plug shortfalls. Then comes the “magic budget” (a backpocket of sorts) – the ESSER Fund this time around – to fill one gap or another. This is how School Without Walls High School lost its librarian in 2020 and 2021, had to excess a French teacher in 2021, and lost social workers and other support staff in that same critical period. Each time, it took months of advocating to fill those budgetary gaps. A distracting and demoralizing process, and by the time the budget was made whole, the relevant staff and teachers had packed up and moved on, taking with them experience, emotional ties with students, and programmatic and community relations. Not only that, they let their colleagues know that DCPS is not a predictable place to work.

This budgetary blame game feeds political motives and pork-barrel dealings while undermining the stability and predictability of our school budgets, not to mention escalating costs. Our students need continuity and familiar faces, and our school system needs stability in the face of a nationwide teacher shortage, which is especially severe when it comes to foreign languages, sciences, and special education (GAO 2022).

We request that, starting with the initial budget allocations, our school budget ensures continuity of staffing and programming, to support stability and predictability and retain teachers and staff.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify and to elaborate on our need for predictable funding that takes into account the programmatic and physical school-level conditions, at high schools in general, and at School Without Walls High School in particular.

Max Whitsell Testimony – DCPS Budget – Nov 16 2022

watch testimony here

7th Grade Student, CHML

Mr. Chancellor, my name is Max Whitsell and I’m in 7th grade at CHML. My school and friends are really important to me – and so are sports.

I found out today at basketball practice that DCPS will not allow my school to have a basketball team that can compete in games this year. I am so upset and disappointed.

We have around 13 boys and 12 girls who have been practicing three times a week and are excited to play. We have great coaches.

I don’t understand why you won’t let us play.

Is it because we are a small school?

Is it because we did something wrong?

Why?

We are having so much fun and want to try to compete. You are cutting off our interests, hopes, dreams and our school’s diversity in clubs. Why won’t you let us play now?

Please change your mind and let CHML boys and girls compete in basketball. Thank you

Danica Petroshius Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

watch testimony here

LSAT Secretary, SIT Member, Parent at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan

Chancellor Ferebee, thank you for the opportunity to testify. I am Danica Petroshius a DCPS parent for the last 12 years. My children both started at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan at age 3 and now they are a 7th grader at CHML and a 9th grader at School Without Walls. I love DCPS and what it has to offer and we love our all-8-wards citywide school and its students, parents, grandparents teachers, staff and principals. I have or do serve on the LSAT, SIT, PTSO and many committees – I’m here for the work it takes for a school to make do in DCPS.

But I am tired – not tired enough to be silent – but tired. But, you haven’t worn me down yet. I have been through: a crumbling, rodent-infested, sewage-leaking, overcrowded building; a school budget that had us budgeted at 40+ students per class; ignoring the needs of our Montessori educators; a lack of computers when remote learning opened; lead in the water – I thought you had thrown our school every obstacle and barrier to success that we could imagine. But, here we are again. If it weren’t for the amazing community I am part of every day and the forever hope that I hold dear that DCPS does want to do the right thing for students – I would not be here today. I continue to believe in DCPS and on behalf of the 423 students at CHML today – and the many more to come – I ask you to develop a budget for FY24 that right-sizes support for our them.

CHML needs $1 MILLION this year to right-size our budget this school year (SY22-23) according to the DCPS current budget model. This means that CHML is short 8-9 staffing positions. We are well under adequate and equitable funding right now.

Here are the facts:

  • This school year, DCPS insisted we would only have 396 enrolled students and set the FY23 budget accordingly. This was an increase in enrollment, but not where we would be. Our LSAT told you that it would be more than 400 but you insisted we were wrong. Guess what – on enrollment count day we clocked in at 423 which mean our CURRENT budget underfunds us by 27 students.
  • In addition, the FY23 budget that you did hand us significantly CUT our funds despite increases in enrollment anticipated to 396 (not counting the undercount we suffer from now). The ONLY reason we didn’t have to cut staff is because of the one-time emergency pandemic funds that held us harmless.
  • We are an education campus – and we, like the other education campuses – are systematically ignored and underfunded on top of the basic budget underfunding. We have to run a PK, elementary and middle school on a budget for an elementary school. Each CHML specials teacher has to teach 11 grades – one art teacher, one music teacher and one Spanish teacher that must learn how to teach content for all grades in PK, elementary and middle school. This is an impossible task that they are juggling. In addition, our school has only 1 specialized science teacher for 11 grades. And, CHML has only one ELA and Math teacher for grades 6, 7 and 8. Stand-alone middle schools do not operate at such understaffed levels particularly as DCPS middle school, grade-level content becomes highly specialized. We know that education campuses across the city are systematically ignored in many ways – most recently in the new budget modeling. When DCPS presented the new budget model to our LSAT last Spring, we were presented an elementary model. We asked what the model was for an education campus and we were met with shrugs. This is unacceptable.

While our amazing teachers and school leadership make it work on a shoestring – with the help of our strong parent community – it’s not right.  

CHML parents ask for 3 things:

  • (1) Give us additional funding now to allow us to hire staff to address the shortfall in the current budget
  • In FY24, (2) fully fund our middle school and (3) give us the full $1 million increase plus that we deserve in your own budget model.

One additional note: if the work of my fellow parent to come up with the $1 million shortfall is not exactly accurate, then sit down with us and show us why. The smoke and mirrors and lack of transparency in the budget is unacceptable. Any parent should be able to read your budget model and determine how much funding a school should get. If we read the budget model and plug in the numbers and we get a different number than you – then tell us what “judgements” or “special considerations” you made about our school to provide us lower funding. We deserve to know why DCPS historically – and still continues to – underfund us according to the budget model, deny us funding matching our actual enrollment, and ignoring the needs of our middle schoolers.

CHML is one example of a successful education campus – exceeding enrollment this year again and helping students get into neighborhood and application high schools that they desire. Fund and pay attention to all of education campuses so that all students get the support they need to succeed.

Joshua Wiley Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

Good Evening and thank you for allowing me to testify today. My name is Joshua Wiley, and I am an Assistant Principal at Whittier Elementary School. 

Many school leaders will not testify about their school building due to fear of retaliation but my fear of students in an unsafe learning environment supersedes that. 

I am testifying today about the modernization of Whittier Elementary.

Whittier has a phrase we say to all students, “if trouble finds you [student], find the nearest adult” for a solution to their problem. In the last few years, I don’t feel like I’ve been able to embody that phrase and meet the needs of my students. I feel helpless when students come to me about the difficulties they experience in an inadequate school building. I cannot help them or find a solution for a leaky roof or an outdated/flawed HVAC system. So I’m going to the next nearest adult, you, DCPS Senior Leadership. Modernization at Whittier has been Over Looked and Over Due for far too long.

Patchwork repairs have plagued Whittier for years. Whittier received a new roof in 2020 and it hasn’t stopped leaking since. Check the work orders. The elevator project is only on one side of the building, leaving 50% of the building out of ADA compliance once the elevator is completed. Several students can not attend Whittier Elementary School due to the lack of ADA-accessible classrooms. Why are we denying students their educational rights?

Imagine dropping your student off at school and dodging falling bricks, breathing in asbestos in the basement, or the lack of working water fountains for students to use. Over the last two years, I’ve personally been present, where we’ve had hot steam spewing from the busted pipes. When companies come for repairs, we’ve been told, it’s only a matter of time before it happens again. Steaming hot water, asbestos, leaks, and mold pose a severe safety risk for students, staff, and families.

Before my request is disregarded again by DCPS Leadership due to not being able to modify the Modernization list, I want to identify the error in how schools are prioritized for modernization. This error has unfortunately bumped Whittier Elementary further down the list.

Whittier Elementary has six self-contained classrooms (more than any other DCPS Elementary School), which combined currently hold approximately 25 students total. Whittier’s building capacity is 520, which is not readjusted for the self-contained classes. According to the master facility listing, Whittier is only 70% full. However, all six self-contained classrooms are full or nearly full, bringing Whittier’s current capacity to 90%.

With this high number of self-contained special education classrooms and the constant safety issues present throughout the building, there should be more urgency for this request. 

When you look at the demographics of the schools that have moved up the modernization list, received building add-ons, or unique swing spaces, it is clear what you must look like or what your zip code must be to have special consideration.

I ask that Whittier Elementary be moved up the modernization list to begin planning during the fiscal year 2024. If this request is not considered, it further shows the lack of respect for students and staff members at Whittier Elementary School.

I, too, am tired of being overlooked.

Martin Welles Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

Good Evening Mayor Bowser, DME Kihn, Members of DC Council, Chancellor Ferebee and DCPS: 

My name is Marty Welles and I have three children at Jackson-Reed High School. My children participate in a total of 7 different sports – Soccer (Fall); Cross-Country (Fall); Cheerleading (Year-Round); Ultimate (Year-Round); Track (Winter/Spring); Lacrosse (Fall/Spring); and Softball (Spring). All of these teams have DCIAA and DCPS requirements for equipment, gear, uniforms, coaches, physical trainers, referees, bus transportation, conduct, grades, and attendance. All of these teams use DCPS facilities (when available) for conditioning, practice, and games. All of the teams report to the school’s athletic director. 

DCPS needs to provide an annual grant to DCIAA in its budget so that unfunded high school sports teams throughout DCPS can proudly represent our city and our schools while competing under the DCIAA banner. A start-up budget of $15,000 per unfunded team would go a long way toward establishing equity in sports throughout DCPS. 

Right now, schools that can’t raise about $15,000 per year from their parents, can’t have a lacrosse team, a field hockey team, a bowling team, an archery team, an ultimate team, a hockey team, or a crew team. This is despite the fact that many unfunded high school sports are funded at the middle school level – archery and lacrosse are two examples. 

Estimated cost for an unfunded team: 

$ Head coach – $3,000 (in season) (required by DCIAA) 

$ Assistant coach – $1,000 (in season) (required by DCIAA based on team size) 

$ Athletic Trainers – $2,800 (8 home games x $175 per hour x 2 hours) (required by DCIAA) 

$ Referees – $2,400 ($100 per hour x 3 referees x 8 home games) (required by DCIAA) 

$ Uniforms – $2,000 (annual cost for game and practice – $6,000 every three years) 

$ Bus Transportation – $4,000 (8 away games at $500 each round-trip) 

$ Gear –

  • o $1,000 Ultimate (discs, cones) 
  • $10,000 Lacrosse (pads, helmet sticks, balls, nets, etc.) 

Some high school teams have less costs (such as Ultimate) others have more (such as boys and girls lacrosse. Welles – Testimony FY2023 DCPS Budget – November 16, 2022 

By placing $250,000 in the budget, DCIAA can issue grants each season to unfunded teams that apply. A grant-type program alleviates DCIAA from the majority of its administrative work, such as scheduling, tournaments, uniform procurement, etc. As more teams begin to field teams, then the $250,000 budget can be increased each year. 

If DCIAA doesn’t want to mess with the grant process, allow non-profits to bid on the opportunity to distribute grants. Capital Community Partners, of which I serve on the Board, has a proven track record of serving youth in our community through the Feed the Feeder program. 

This is about equity and inclusion, mental and physical health, creating opportunities for all of our youth. 

I thank you for your time and I look forward to partnering with each of you again this year. We have a lot of work to do, but I am proud to be able to send my children to public school in the District of Columbia. 

Thank you, 

Martin Welles 

Parent of 3 Children at Jackson-Reed High School (DCPS) 

Board of Directors, Capital Community Partners (Ward 8 HQ) 

Member, Student Assignment and Boundary Committee 

Member, Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Cabinet 

Board of Directors, Capitol Hill Little League – Treasurer 

LL.M. Georgetown University Law Center – Taxation 

LL.M. George Washington Law School with Highest Honors – Litigation 

J.D. Loyola New Orleans – International Law 

M.A. Loyola New Orleans – Communications 

B.A. Viterbo University 

A.A. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse 

Tim Abdella Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

Hello, Thank you for your time this evening. My name is Tim Abdella. I’m a Parent of 2 Capitol Hill Montessori DCPS students, Gabriella Abdella, age 13 in the 8th grade and Lauren Abdella, age 10 in the 5th grade. Both girls started at Capitol Hill Montessori, Gabriella was born in September, she started at the age 2. They have been at the school their entire lives, and we have been fighting for them the entire time; we are exhausted of the fight for basic, safe education of our children; yet here we are again.

We live across the street from the school, in Ward 6 for the last 22 years. My wife Betsy and I participate on the PTSO, Chair committees, we are room parents, LSAT members, SIT members, PIT members, advocates, cheerleaders, soccer moms and when needed activists.

You have heard from some of my fellow parents at Capitol Hill Montessori, we are grossly underfunded and have been for years – THIS MUST BE CORRECTED.

As part of my testimony, I submitted the “Capitol Hill Montessori School 2023” budget as evidence. It is publicly available on the DCPS website: https://dcpsbudget.com/datasets/capitol-hill-montessori-submitted-budget-2023/

Using the numbers in this budget document, I will walk us through the simple math that all schools should conduct. This math will provide all of us, with a year-over-year, per student funding value, and in the case of Capitol Hill Montessori, it will show a Million Dollar shortfall.

The only other number needed, which is not included on the budget document, is the FY23 certified enrollment count – Capitol Hill Montessori’s 2023 official enrollment count is 423 students.

The Total FY22 budget was $5,590,417. The FY22 project enrollment was 355. Total Budget $5,590,417 divided by the 355 Enrollment equals $15,747.65 as an average per student funding amount in FY22.

(FY22 Formula: 5,590.417 / 355 = 15,747.65)

We do the same for FY23, with a $5,659,997 budget. Our official FY23 enrollment is 423. Same formula, Total Budget $5,659,997 divided by 423 Enrollment equals $13,380.61 as the average per student funding amount in FY23.

         (FY23 Formula: 5,659,997 / 423 = 13,380.61)

13,380.61 is significantly less than 15,747.65.    $2,367.04 per student – to be exact.

If Capitol Hill Montessori was funded at the same level per student this year, as last year, (which I argue is still underfunded, and does not account for inflation) the Capitol Hill Montessori budget should be $6,661,256.

         (CHML Should be Budget Formula: 15,747.65 * 423 = 6,661,255.95)

Our actual budget for FY23 is $5,659,997. This is a $1,001,259 Year-Over-Year shortfall.

(Shortfall Formula: 6,661,256 – 5,659,997 = 1,001,259)

A Million Dollar shortfall is simply not equitable for Gabriella, Lauren and all of their classmates. The school is short 8-12 staff members depending on how the funding is allocated.

Capitol Hill Montessori is grossly underfunded, has been for years – THIS MUST BE CORRECTED NOW.

Tommy Jones Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

Good evening, Chancellor Ferebee, DCPS staff and leadership, parents and students and participants of this DCPS Budget engagement process. My name is Tommie Jones, and I am proud CHML parent of a rising first grade scholar. I am the new chair of our LSAT and am committed to supporting CHML for years to come.

My wife Monica and I are proud DC residents and reside in the Hillcrest community of Ward 7. Three years ago, we did what so many PK-3 parents do and that is research the best elementary schools for our kids, enroll our kids in the DC school lottery and hope our kid gets into the best school community that meet his or her needs.

Luckily for us we got a DCPS school. As products of public education, we are committed to supporting our son’s education here in DC Public Schools. We have made it our priority to be involved in our son’s school communities. Both of us have served on his schools PTO boards, been classroom parents and have even served on DCPS parent boards. So, for the Jones family—we DCPS proud and are all in for our son and his school having whatever they need to learn and be successful.

Tonight, before I begin, I would like to introduce my LSAT parent colleagues Tim Abdalla and Danica Petroshius. Both Tim and Danica have been involved in our school community for many years. They both have been apart of this budget process and can speak in more details about the needs of our school community and about the lack of clear, concise and transparency around our school budget.

As part of my testimony, I have three central budget items that need to be corrected for our school community:

1. Maintain our enrollment numbers over 400+ students and properly fund our school with the needed resource as an education campus that reflects both the elementary and middle school student we serve

For the past few years, we have seen that DCPS has projected our school enrollment under 400 students. This projection has been wrong, caused challenges for our school community and was an unrealistic number of students served at the students served. Furthermore, this under enrollment project has hampered our base funding, decreased the number of teachers we can hire and has made it more challenging for our young people to have the kind of school experiences that they deserve. You will notice for example our school FY23 enrollment project was based at 396 students and to date we have 423 students and growing with a waiting list of families interested in Montessori education for their children.

2. Right size our school budget to reflect our growth, need and education mission.

My colleagues Tim and Danica will both elaborate more on the true budget shortfall we are experiencing at our school.

But let’s put this in prospective—our school budget if based on our current enrollment and the DCPS formula that is on your website is one million dollars short and 8-10 positions.

What we know is our students in PK-3 to the eighth grade have a limited number of specialty courses such as music and the arts. We also know that these same teachers teach multiple grades, students and are stretched thin serving all students in the school.  

3. Budget Process and Transparency

As a new LSAT leader I am challenged by how this budget process is conducted. As parents we are eager to support our schools and are asking for your help to make are schools’ budget easy to read, reflect true student enrollment and need for our school.

Closing

In closing, thank you for the opportunity to testify today at this budget hearing. I am eager to see who the testimonies received today we will reflect in the upcoming FY24 budget.

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