Good School Planning: A Data Dump

[Ed. Note: The following is simply a dump of data that are in my estimation basic to DC school planning. These data sets are also very difficult, if not impossible, to come by in any one DC agency or website. Nonetheless, they are central to annual master facility plan (MFP) updates, along with a possible new decadal school boundaries survey. As you wander through, be sure to note in the comments if anything seems missing; I will update as I get more information and figure out what’s missing.]

Enrollment by DCPS boundary by school

The latest by boundary by school enrollments were posted the other week by the deputy mayor for education (DME) and are here:

This data shows enrollment trends across the city over time. In a city where school choice is prioritized at every turn, such data is essential for school planning—and especially for DCPS schools of right.

Here’s an excellent analysis of the changes shown by this data in the last 5 years:

Here is the data by boundary by year:







Enrollment by school by ward

This data, starting in SY16-17 and including the last two school years, was released by the office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE) in March, in response to additional council questions. As far as I know, it is not posted publicly anywhere on the council chair’s website; I was provided this by council staff.

Here’s an excellent analysis of this newly provided data for SY21-22:

Here is a website for the data set recently published:

Here is a similar dataset provided by OSSE in response to council questions years ago, going back to SY12-13:

Enrollment audits

This data comes from OSSE every October.

It is available here:

Student population trends

Although we do not (yet) have the 2020 census data by age, we do have information about enrollment trends, which show a general decrease in public school enrollment in DC, at least in the near term.

CDC provisional birth data for DC (at 8,858, DC in 2020 saw its smallest number of births since 2006).

More on declines of kids in DC:

Official 2020 census count for DC is waaaaay lower than even the lowest DC office planning estimate from 2016.

Dropping enrollment: and

Deputy mayor for education’s analysis of declining DC student population, March 2022:

For comparison, here’s a 2017 document from the DME on DC public school enrollment trends, 2011-2016

Comprehensive list of closed DCPS schools

Thanks to the excellent work of Mary Levy, we have this chart of closed DCPS schools. As far as I know, the only school building missing from it is the K.C. Lewis elementary building at 355 W Street NW, which last housed Washington Met HS and is currently being leased to Howard University.

Information about closed DCPS schools not being used as charters

Public information on closed DCPS school buildings not yet turned over to charters has been inconsistent in its location, promulgation, as well as explanations of uses for those buildings.

For one, buildings are often left off official city inventories. Consider that the 2018 MFP mentioned Thurgood Marshall, Old Miner, Fletcher-Johnson, Old Randle Highlands, Spingarn, and Winston as vacant without noting anything about the status of Davis (which at the time did not have Bard); Wilkinson; Emery; Garnet-Patterson; Meyer; Sharpe; Langston; Shaw; Ferebee-Hope; Kenilworth; and Old Hardy, all of which have not been re-opened as bona fide DCPS schools. A year later, a post on closed DCPS facilities mentioned only 3 as “vacant” (Winston, Langston, and Spingarn) while ignoring the status of most of the rest above.

For another, while the DME’s website here does have annual MFPs and supplements, another DME website (as well as this one here) has similar (though also sometimes entirely different) information.

The upshot is that DC taxpayers are constantly unable to get a clear and timely picture of former DCPS school buildings held entirely in the public trust. Besides being the very opposite of school planning, this shell game is both tiresome and antidemocratic, favoring the private offer of public resources at every turn without any public oversight. (See here and here and here and here for a few concrete examples of this bait and switch.)

Below is information I have found useful–if incomplete–on the subject of former DCPS school buildings not yet turned over to charters.

MFP addendum, 2021:

Also available here:

MFP addendum, 2020:

MFP addendum, 2019:

A more comprehensive look at similar data in 2019 is here:

(The data immediately above from 2019 is from this website:

Interestingly, this “Edsight” brief from 9/30/19 mentions only 3 vacant buildings in DCPS:

Here is what appears to be a comprehensive spreadsheet from the same year:

2018 MFP

The following quotes are the only places in the MFP I was able to find information about vacant and inactive former DCPS buildings.

p. E-3: “As of SY2017-18, there were 212 facilities housing 249 public schools that enrolled over 91,000 public school students. While there are public school facilities across Washington, DC, the greatest concentration of school facilities is in Wards 5 and 8 and the least is in Wards 2 and 3. Additionally, there are no public charter schools located in Ward 3. The number and location of school facilities have changed over time as schools have opened and closed.

“As of SY2017-18, DCPS schools operate in 110 District-owned and managed buildings. The picture differs for public charter schools, which are responsible for securing their own facilities: 31 were leasing in District- owned buildings, 40 were leasing via private or commercial leases, another 22 owned their facilities through private acquisition, and nine owned a former DCPS building. The 71 privately owned or leased properties are not owned or managed by the District. (Schools in these facilities either own the facilities or enter into leases with private entities.) The District is not a party to these private leases. The District also maintains 13 public school buildings that DCPS uses for swing space for modernization purposes, for administrative purposes, or are currently vacant.”

p. 2-32: “Figure 2.22 shows the locations of District-owned educational facilities that are vacant. The six vacant school facilities are Thurgood Marshall, Old Miner, Fletcher-Johnson,16Old Randle Highlands, Spingarn, and Winston. Half of all vacant District-owned school facilities (3 of 6) are located in Ward 7. Table 2.9 shows the size of each vacant school facility in square feet.“

p. 3-5: “Public charter LEAs can lease or purchase buildings from a private entity; in addition, the District has made vacant school buildings available to charter schools for short-term or long-term leases. (Previously the District allowed public charters to purchase District buildings, but that now happens infrequently.) As of SY2017-18, public charter schools leased 31 District-owned buildings and owned nine former District school facilities.“

p. 4-3: “To grow the total portfolio of space used for educational purposes, this strategy focuses on the re-use of underutilized or vacant public facilities through enhanced public agency collaboration. An inter-agency task force could be created to assess the District’s real estate portfolio and take a targeted approach to any potential assets that could be repositioned for educational use. Vacant District-owned facilities are potential options to explore. Examples of vacant DCPS facilities include Thurgood Marshall ES, Old Miner ES, Fletcher-Johnson ES, Old Randle Highlands ES, Spingarn HS, and Winston EC.“

MFP addendum, 2017:

There is also this document from July 2017:

And this document from February 2017:

Annnnd there is also this spreadsheet from 2017 (similar to the spreadsheet for 2019):

MFP addendum, 2016:

It is also here:

MFP addendum, 2015:

It is also here:

Lottery preferences

This “anticipated” list of lottery preferences is for SY22-23 and was provided to council in March 2022 by OSSE in its additional oversight responses to the DC council:

As far as I know, this is not otherwise publicly posted anywhere. It was given to me by council staff.

Other school planning documentation

DCPS justification for Ward 3 overcrowding: This chart dates from 2017.

DCPS school consolidation plan from 2012: How much of this has come to pass?

Closed charter schools (from February 2019, the latest date I could find for any public accounting):

Here is another place where this data resides:

All approved charters between 1996 and February 2019 (again, the latest date for which I could find any public accounting):

Here is another place where this data resides:

Those two charter board (DCPCSB) websites above are from this website:

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