Resolution Calling for DCPS to Align DCPS Budgeting
Methodology With Its Funding Methodology
Whereas, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) are authorized funding using the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF)which sets a foundation level funding number for every student along with added supplemental weighted funding for other specific cases requiring additional monies. In addition, the “Fair Student Funding and School-Based Budgeting Amendment Act of 2013” (Fair Student Funding Act)adds additional funds for students who are determined to be At-Risk. These At-Risk funds are IN ADDITION to the funds generated by the UPSFF funding mechanism; and
Whereas, the funding mechanism described above was specifically designed to follow STUDENTS and not SCHOOLS, especially in the case of the At-Risk funding; and
Whereas, Charter schools are funded using the same formula; and
Whereas, DCPS cannot directly account for how the funds generated by the UPSFF and the Fair Student Funding Act correlate to the DCPS students for whom the funds are intended; and
Whereas, the discrepancy between what individual schools would receive based on the UPSFF plus the Fair Student Funding Act, and the actual budgets set by DCPS has grown to the point that the high schools that receives the most per student funding (Metropolitan at +$12,500 and Anacostia at +$11,800, see Exhibit A, Figure 1) are more than four times as much as the high school with the lowest (Wilson at -$3,800 see Exhibit A, Figure 1); and
Whereas, the school that is the farthest from the baseline (-$3,800), Woodrow Wilson High School (Wilson), has the 2ndhighest number of At-Risk students (645) in the DCPS system (Exhibit A, Figure 1); and
Whereas, the school that is the second farthest from the baseline (-$3,000), Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), has the most At-Risk students (891) in the DCPS system (Exhibit A, Figure 1); and
Whereas, there are vast discrepancies between schools in how close the actual budget they receive is to the amount prescribed by the UPSFF and the Fair Student Funding (Exhibit A, Figure 1), a dynamic that clearly doesn’t correlate with the UPSFF funding methodology. Three schools for example, Bard Early College, Anacostia and Metropolitan, have enrollment-based funding in their budget that is over twice that of three other high schools, CHEC, Eastern and Wilson. Logic would dictate that school enrollment-based funding, the foundation level funding of UPSFF, would group close to a baseline as illustrated in Exhibit A, Figure 1, but that isn’t the case with DCPS. These discrepancies suggest that DC budgeting law for schools is observed in the breach. Moreover, absent a well-supported justification for these discrepancies, reasonable observers can conclude that the budgeting process for DC schools is – at least – arbitrary.
Now, therefore, in recognition of these considerations, ANC 3E adopts the following resolution.
Resolved, ANC 3E urges the city to reform actual DCPS funding and budgeting methodologies to align with each other, preferably using methodologies that use STUDENTS as the metric to generate and allocate monies. One possibility is something similar to Student Based Budgeting as implemented in other school districts.
Be it further resolved, ANC 3E urges DCPS to create a method for ensuring that, and easily showing residents how, each DCPS student receives the funding granted them by law. DCPS should publish that information in addition to their yearly budget.
The resolution passed by a vote of 0 – 0 – 0 at a properly noticed meeting held on April 11, 2019, at which a quorum was present, with Commissioners Bender, Hall, McHugh, Quinn, and Ehrhardt in attendance.
By Jonathan Bender, Chairperson