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DC Public Schools Releases Budget Priorities for Fiscal Year 2017

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

DC Public Schools Releases Budget Priorities for Fiscal Year 2017

Contact: Michelle Lerner
(202) 805-2885

(Washington, DC) Today, DC Public Schools released its budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2017, continuing five years of direct investments to schools and creating new investments for extended year and for alternative schools, as well as new schools and programs.

“With a growing number of families choosing DC Public Schools and our continued investment in teachers, I’m thrilled that we can, once again, provide schools with more funding, as well as continue our investments at the elementary, middle, and high school levels,” said Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools.

In the last seven years, DC Public Schools has made historic investments at the school level by providing schools with more money each year, culminating in an increase of 22 percent for school budgets, while Central Office funding has remained flat.

Since FY12, DCPS school budgets have increaded 22% (Graph)

DC Public Schools’ continued investments over the last several years include:

  • $17.5 million in music, art, world language, and physical education, among other courses, in elementary schools;
  • $12.7 million in elective courses, more core curriculum offerings, excursions and enrichment opportunities, and social and emotional services in middle schools; and 
  • $14.5 million in expanding AP courses, extracurriculars, athletics, and career academies in high-wage, high-growth fields such as engineering, hospitality, and technology.

“DC Public Schools has worked to ensure that each year, more of our total budget goes directly to schools,” said Dr. Nathaniel Beers, Chief Operating Officer of DC Public Schools. “This sustained support means we can continue our trajectory of being the fastest improving urban school district in the country.”

Since Fiscal Year 2013, the number of teachers in DCPS has increased by 18 percent. This growth in the teacher force has enabled DCPS to better meet student needs while also expanding course offerings.

The number of teachers in DCPS has increased by 18% from FY13 to FY17

The budget allocation for teachers has increased by 14 percent. This investment in the teacher force enabled DCPS to retain 93 percent of its highly effective teachers and expand its workforce.

DCPS increased spending on teachers from $386 million in FY13 to $440 million (projected) in FY 2017 (Bar Chart)

Investing in Alternative Schools: $4 Million Investment

DC Public Schools is investing $4 million to ensure overage, undercredited high school students are on a path to graduation.

“DC Public Schools serves all students and, in that mission, we need to do more for our students taking alternative paths toward graduation,” said Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools. “This $4 million investment will ensure students in comprehensive high schools stay on track and students in alternative schools have a plan to graduate high school prepared for college and career.”

The new investments include:

  • Creating individual plans for every overage, undercredited high school student to reach graduation and beyond at traditional high schools with support from Directors of Pathways, a new position in each school;
  • Revamping support at Luke C. Moore High School, Washington Metropolitan High School, Ballou STAY High School, and Roosevelt STAY High School with the same individualized, dedicated support to ensure students are on a path toward graduation, providing formalized social-emotional learning support, and more; and
  • Providing targeted recruitment and support for students disconnected from school, but lacking a high school diploma and access to college and high-wage careers.

“I’m thrilled that DC Public Schools ensures that each student who comes through our doors—even if that student takes an alternative path—is supported and prepared for high school graduation and beyond,” says Principal Langston of Luke C. Moore High School.

Extended Year at 10 DC Public Schools: $5 Million Investment

Ten DCPS schools will move to an extended-year calendar in School Year 2016-2017, allowing more time for learning and eliminating summer learning loss for students. The 10 new elementary and middle schools with extended year in School Year 2016-2017 are:

  • Garfield Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • H.D. Cooke Elementary School (Ward 1)
  • Hart Middle School (Ward 8)
  • Hendley Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • Johnson Middle School (Ward 8)
  • Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7)
  • King Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7)
  • Thomas Elementary School (Ward 7)
  • Turner Elementary School (Ward 8)

“Students, especially our students in struggling schools, deserve the opportunity both to excel in core subjects like reading and math, and to explore a wide range of interests including art, music, PE, advanced courses, library, and foreign language,” noted Chancellor Henderson. “By extending the school year, students will get the equivalent of an extra year of learning by the 8th grade.”

The extended year includes an additional month of instruction, bringing the school year to 200 academic days, with an optional two weeks provided for students to get additional support, and breaks in October and June to accompany the normal winter and spring breaks.

New Schools and Programming in School Year 2016-2017: $5.6 Million Investment

DC Public Schools is also opening two new schools and creating key programming at five other schools to ensure that students are prepared for college and career.

In School Year 2016-2017, the Empowering Males High School, led by Dr. Benjamin Williams, will open as an all-male school with a college-preparatory focus, while MacFarland Middle School (Ward 4) will reopen with a dual-language program in Spanish and English. New programming at existing schools include:

  • International Focus: Roosevelt High School (Ward 4) will be reenivsioned with a global studies theme in course offerings and extracurricular activities, preparing students for a global society and workforce. The school will also launch a Spanish-English dual-language program and an International Academy to support students new to the United States. Houston Elementary School will launch a Spanish-English dual-language program, the first in Ward 7. Eliot-Hine Middle School (Ward 6) will provide a rigorous curriculum as an International Baccalaureate school.
  • Preparing students for careers: The historic H.D. Woodson High School (Ward 7) will open two new career academies focused on IT and engineering with a special focus on sustainability. Organizations, such as the DC Department of Energy and the Environment, will work directly with students by hosting job shadow days and offering paid internships. Students at Anacostia High School (Ward 8) will launch a new public safety and cybersecurity program, in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department, giving students a head start to becoming MPD cadets.

Enrollment at DC Public Schools is projected to increase for School Year 2016-2017, the fifth consecutive year of increased enrollment in DCPS.

For more information, follow @DCPublicSchools on Twitter and Facebook.