With a new DCPS chancellor mulling changing the school system’s budget model and the DC public charter school board (PCSB) executive director leaving, the two school agencies are asking for more public feedback.
Two upcoming public meetings are being billed as community budget forums. They were announced at DCPS’s mandated public budget hearing on October 29:
December 10, 6-8 pm, Coolidge HS, 6315 5th St. NW
December 11, 6-8 pm, Ballou HS, 3401 4th St. SE
Indeed, at that October hearing (see the transcript here), a variety of public witnesses testified about a host of (sadly recurring) budget problems, including
–Lack of special education teachers;
–Digital inequity (lack of working computers, personnel, hardware fixes);
–Overenrolled schools (yes, really: Roosevelt, Francis Stevens, CHEC, Beers);
–Loss of staffing positions (even at overenrolled schools–yes, really);
–Late release of budgets;
–Lack of full-time nurses;
–Poor building conditions;
–Lack of specials; and
–Wildly inadequate funding for high-poverty schools.
Expect much concern with the proposal, apparently being floated, of doing away with the comprehensive staffing model in favor of a student-based funding formula. Despite the fact that no DCPS schools have been fully funded (since, well, forever) so we have no idea of how a fully funded school actually would function, the comprehensive staffing model at least promised that every school would have a full complement of teachers, even as it sometimes (occasionally often) fell short.
Whatever its other strengths, a student-based funding formula raises the real possibility that not only will currently under-enrolled schools be without needed staff, but they may not even exist much longer.
(Hmm: So much for those strong DCPS schools in every neighborhood mentioned by the chancellor at the October budget hearing–although maybe the hearing’s transcript got it wrong and the chancellor meant strong DCPS schools in every other neighborhood? Or just strong schools that aren’t necessarily DCPS? After all, there are entire neighborhoods that currently lack any school of right, due to closures. There are other neighborhoods where the DCPS schools are currently overcrowded or soon to be, while a closed DCPS school in one such neighborhood was just given away to charters and DCPS isn’t pulling back a leased former school in another. You’d think DCPS giving up real estate was a plan or something.)
A decision by DCPS one way or another for its future budget model is expected a year from now.
Two meetings are being billed as public roundtables at which DC residents can provide feedback on a new PCSB executive director:
December 11, 6:30 pm, Thurgood Marshall Academy, 2427 MLK Ave. SE
January 11, 10 am, KIPP HS, 1405 Brentwood Parkway NE
Additionally, PCSB is holding a roundtable for elected officials on Thursday, December 19, 6 pm, 3333 14th St., NW, Suite 210.
PCSB is also accepting public comments at firstname.lastname@example.org; all feedback will be posted here.
A national search firm is undertaking a formal search, and you can nominate individuals. (See here.)