DC Public Schools


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Budget Engagement

The DCPS budget cycle is a year-round process and one that provides opportunities for stakeholders across our community — including parents, students, and principals, teachers and staff — to be engaged in the development of their school budget.

For Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), DCPS is committed to helping our families and our communities understand how our dollars are allocated across our schools as the budget comes together for School Year 2020-2021 (SY20-21). Read more about the steps we are taking to being equity and transparency to the budget process.

DCPS Pocket Budget Guide

To help you navigate the planning process and available resources around how school budgets get

made, check out our new pocket guide. Click through the slides below or follow this link to view on your phone, tablet or computer or download a version [PDF]. Haga clic aquí para español.


DCPS_PocketBudgetGuide_FY21 by DCPS Communications


FY21 Budget Engagement for DCPS

In this year’s Family and Community Guide to the DC Public Schools Budget [PDF], we are sharing ways we aim to make the budget process more transparent, including the identification of all school funding sources, the release of school-specific narratives to explain year over year programmatic fluctuations in school budgets, and additional context on how Central Office funds are spent.

The guide was released in Fall 2019 ahead of events to gain public feedback on the budget and school priorities. We held a Public Budget Hearing on October 29, 2019, from 6-8 pm at Maury Elementary School and organized Community Budget Forums on December 10, 2019, from 6-8 pm at Coolidge High School and another on December 11, 2019, from 6-8 pm at Ballou High School. And finally, we held LSAT Budget Roundtables on January 23, 2020 at Boorkland MS and January 29, 2020 at Kimball ES.

FY21 Budget Engagement Community Feedback

Looking Ahead to FY22 and Beyond

For Fiscal Year 2022, which will take effect in School Year 2021-2022, we are taking a step back to holistically evaluate our budget model to determine how we can best engage in transparent, equitable, and financially sustainable budgeting that empowers principals to use resources in a more flexible manner to improve student outcomes. Engagement with our stakeholders as well as with school budget experts will be critical in this process, so that we ensure that our budgets meet the needs of the students and families our schools serve as well as the educators and school leaders leading this work every day.

As we think about developing a budget model, there are three key priorities we are solving for:

  • Equity: Is the current budget structure yielding the results in student outcomes that we want? What flexibilities exist so leaders can make the best decisions for all students?
  • Financial Sustainability: How do we create a model that is financially sustainable, given the reality of rising costs?
  • Transparency: How do we help our community understand how our funds are allocated?

We are approaching the evaluation of our budget model in Fiscal Year 2022 with a three-phased approach that begins this fall:

  • Phase One – Understand: We are conducting a data analysis deep dive into our current funding process. We want our path forward to be informed by our historical context and national best practices for urban school districts, so that we can learn from both what has worked and what has not to chart a path forward.
  • Phase Two – Design: This winter and spring, we will focus on comprehensive engagement. This stage will provide our stakeholders – including school leaders, school staff, families, and community members – an opportunity to share their priorities about how DCPS allocates its funds.
  • Phase Three – Build: After extensive engagement, DCPS will finalize a budget model and educate key individuals involved in the budget process, including school leaders and LSAT members, on how the new budget model will shape their work going forward. DCPS will finalize a budget model in spring 2020 in preparation for implementing this budget model for Fiscal Year 2022.


Contact us at [email protected] or (202) 431-2879.

For more information on the DCPS budget and how to get involved, please review the information below: