Let’s Talk Money

Now that the mayor has released her proposed budget for FY18, the city council will be holding budget hearings for all agencies involved in education and school-related issues on the following days (also highlighted in the calendar on the right):

Deputy mayor for health and human services (oversees all health professionals in DC public schools): Wednesday April 12, 11 am
Department of General Services (DGS; for DCPS modernizations): Thursday April 13, 11 am
Deputy mayor for education (DME): Tuesday April 25, 10 am
Office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE): Wednesday April 26, 11 am
DCPS (public witnesses): Thursday April 27, 10 am & 5 pm
Department of behavioral health (school mental health providers): Friday April 28, 11 am
DCPS (government witnesses): Wednesday May 3, 10 am
Public school charter board: Thursday May 4, 10 am
State board of education: Thursday May 4, 10 am
Department of health (school nurses): Friday May 5, 11 am

All hearings are at our city hall, the Wilson Building, 1350 PA Ave. NW. If you wish to testify, sign up here for the education hearings at least 48 hours in advance. More information on all the education hearings is here. Sign-up for the DGS hearing is here.

Contact information for signing up for the three school health personnel hearings (4/12, 4/28, and 5/5) is here; note that our deputy mayor for health and human services–who is in charge of budgets for all school health personnel–is none other than the same person who authored a report last year calling for DC school nurse rationing. (More information on the current (sad) state of DC’s school health professionals is here.)

A few things to note:

–Per pupil funding for all public schools was increased 1.5% in the proposed budget. This is less than what a task force put together by OSSE on the subject recommended, which has led to widespread critiques.

–Even with this increase, some DCPS schools are seeing large budget shortfalls relative to this school year, with no enrollment decline and no apparent recognition of rising costs per professional.

–Per pupil facilities allocations for charter schools has increased 2.2%.

–Total education investment increase proposed for FY18 is $105 million, with almost 80% of it going toward DC charter schools.

And yet:

Without saying a word about shortfalls of any kind, master of diplomacy and new DCPS chancellor Antwan Wilson sent out a blast email to all DCPS parents last week, in which he touted all of this as “wonderful news” for DCPS.

The same email included a chart showing that the 2.2% increase in charter school facilities allotments will be annual, for the next 4 years, all the while nothing was said about the DCPS schools that remain untouched by any modernization–or the campaign of parents and teachers to fix them.

Hmm: seems the more things change (Trump, DeVos, etc.), the more they stay the same. See you at the Wilson Building.

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