[Ed. Note: This blog post on where to find education agency oversight responses is intended to be a resource. Many thanks to DCPS budget analyst Mary Levy for her excellent help and insight locating and enumerating these sources. Background: Every spring the DC council holds oversight hearings—budget and performance—for each DC education agency. The council submits questions ahead of hearings, and agency responses are then posted publicly. But those responses are not always easy to find—and this poor access has been exacerbated since the council chair, Phil Mendelson, got rid of the council’s education committee. In addition to limiting questions to agencies, that means that responses, depending on year, are stored either with the committee of the whole or with the education committee. This year, all of that was made yet more difficult by the fact that the council never asked any budget questions of ANY DC ed agency before the spring 2022 budget hearings–and asked just a few questions after those budget hearings of only one agency (DCPS). Coupled with DC’s lack of FOIA enforcement (see here and here and here for a few recent examples) and a huge backlog of FOIA appeals, such obscuring means that decision making around $2 BILLION every year (i.e. DC taxpayers’ annual contribution to our publicly funded schools) is shrouded in secrecy and power, not democracy.]
1. For 2021 and 2022, SOME education agency responses are posted at a site that appears to be created and hosted by the council committee of the whole and/or by council chair Phil Mendelson: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a9c91dqy6nmas9t/AAABx9xdiI7356scMrIG639fa?dl=0
From that dropbox, you can access TWO of the following (because of course why have them all in one place?):
Spring 2022 performance oversight: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a9c91dqy6nmas9t/AAB_Nj3chorlKhL-vnDI2GiOa/.2022%20Past%20Hearings/3.3.22%20Performance%20(Education%20Government)?dl=0&subfolder_nav_tracking=1
Spring 2021 performance oversight: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gjb4u3u7hnofdts/AABlRILp54Te0TnJDJKJJt08a?dl=0
Spring 2021 budget oversight: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a9c91dqy6nmas9t/AABoIHIVee0ENL8geFwViaixa/.2021%20Past%20Hearings/6.8.21%20Testimony%20and%20Responses%20(Education)?dl=0&subfolder_nav_tracking=1
2. For some (but not all!) spring 2021 and 2022 responses as well as those from 2020 and before, you can go to the DC council website, https://dccouncil.us/. At the bottom, click on either “Performance Oversight” or “Budget Oversight,” which will lead to responses for recent years *except for* recent performance oversight by the committee of the whole (COW), which is in the dropbox above (except when it isn’t–naturally).
Warning: 2021 responses in the council’s dropbox are in PDF format, which means that tables are either useless or limited in their utility.
3. Former education committee chair David Grosso has several dropbox sites containing oversight responses for agencies under his purview from years past:
2019 (dropbox appears to be depopulated as of this blog posting–naturally):
It is unclear how long these websites will be maintained–just don’t expect it to last.
4. Council chair Phil Mendelson has a website, http://chairmanmendelson.com, that also contains a link to agency responses identical to the main dropbox in #1 above. On the chairman’s website, click on “Legislative Information,” then “View Submitted Testimony.” That then leads to links to 2021 and 2022 hearing materials in the main dropbox in #1 above.
This link, https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a9c91dqy6nmas9t/AAABx9xdiI7356scMrIG639fa?dl=0, should lead directly to the same place.
5. The council also requests information from agencies after oversight hearings—but those responses appear to be very irregularly handled, with most not available publicly. (Naturally.) This spring, that unavailability became particularly problematic, as the DC council held budget hearings for education agencies before any agency received the council’s budget questions. After those budget hearings, the council apparently asked ONLY DCPS questions–and no other education agency.
As a result of all of that opacity, the number of after-hearing responses I have below are very limited and are not clearly publicly available anywhere I have found, including in those links above.
DCPS post-hearing budget responses, spring 2022:
OSSE post-hearing performance responses, spring 2022 (yes, spring 2022, even though the date on this material is 2021):
The link directly above (to OSSE responses) has questions whose answers are the following documents:
Lottery preferences: https://educationdc.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/q9-lottery-preferences-msdc.xlsx
Enrollment by school by ward: https://educationdc.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/q8-students-by-ward.xlsx
The enrollment by school by ward is also here: