Two main themes have driven our budget work for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15): communication and stabilization. Budget work can often be vague, confusing, and messy. This year the Chancellor and DCPS resolved to bring a greater sense of clarity and transparency to the budget development process. This has included:
- Unprecedented focus on communicating priorities to schools, families and the community early in the budget development process
- Soliciting feedback from the public and school community groups through an online engagement tool and survey
- Placing a greater emphasis on collaboration between all stakeholders from start to finish
We believe that the information presented in this year’s Budget Guide is a direct translation of this work and who we are at DCPS: a partnership of school leaders and staff, central administrators, families and local school communities coming together to provide the best opportunity for all of our students across the city.
Stabilization will be a guiding force for the upcoming school year. Over the past seven years DCPS has witnessed a number of innovations and new program and policy implementations. Slowly, but surely, these changes have resulted in strong, positive growth. We believe that DCPS is headed in the right direction and in order to maintain our successes we have to provide stable and consistent budget support for our schools. We believe our FY15 school budgets and Chancellor’s Priorities do just that.
Based on community interest for a manipulatable spreadsheet with all schools' budget allocation data, we're sharing a link to download an Excel spreadsheet that details all schools' budget allocations by position and by value. Please click below to access the spreadsheet. We've also included projected student enrollment on the spreadsheet for context, as enrollment remains the primary input for developing schools' budget allocations.
The Chancellor’s FY15 Budget Priorities
FY15 is the first year where the Chancellor announced the three priorities that would drive DCPS’ budget at the start of the budget development season. These priorities – middle grades, 40 lowest performing schools, and student satisfaction – will each have significant impact this fiscal year.
There is no area where we have come as far, or where we have farther to go, than with our middle grades students. Achievement levels for seventh and eighth grade students have more than doubled since 2007 and our eighth graders have shown the greatest gains in the nation since 2011. Next year, we are going to build on this success by:
- Making sure every middle grades student in every school has equal access to challenging classes like algebra and foreign language and enrichment opportunities;
- Providing more social and emotional supports for students as they enter their teenage years; and
- Extending the school day so students can catch up where they are behind and explore areas where they excel.
Lowest Performing Schools
Our lowest performing schools have seen big gains. We need to continue this pace of improvement until we eliminate our achievement gap. Next year, we will:
- Extend the school day in our lowest performing schools;
- Bring additional staff and partners to our schools to improve student reading and writing; and
- Improve attendance and monitor student progress to provide targeted supports.
We have already announced that we will make a big investment to improve student satisfaction in every one of our schools. Through our Proving What’s Possible Student Satisfaction Awards, we will provide schools with an average of $100 for every student to support enrichment activities, field trips, extracurricular activities, clubs, new athletic teams and anti-bullying work.
Other School Based Investments
In addition to these three priorities, we will make significant additional investments in our schools. We will:
- Drive more funding to our schools than ever before.
- Hire dozens of additional educators to account for the 1,200 new students we will have in our schools next year.
- Continue our investment in elementary schools to ensure that every student receives weekly art, music, PE, and foreign language and regular library services.
- Increase special education staffing to ensure that more of our students with special needs receive a high quality education in their neighborhood school.
- Provide more specially trained teachers, aides, and counselors to ensure we meet the needs of our growing English language learner population.
- Ensure our schools are safe and clean by supporting the hundreds of millions of dollars we have invested in school construction with increased custodial services.
- Establish a true STEM Academy at Woodson High School.
- Invest in planning for the reopening of the Van Ness campus, Spingarn High School, and Brookland Middle School and for the creation of a selective middle school east of the river.
- Develop a strategic plan to radically improve the success of our young, black men.
- Ensure that no school sees a significant reduction in its budget, regardless of enrollment changes.