DC Students Succeed Coalition Thanked Mayor Bowser, Chairman Mendelson, and DC Council for Prioritizing DC Students
Today, the DC Students Succeed coalition thanked Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chairman Phil Mendelson, and DC Council for prioritizing DC students in the DC Fiscal Year 23 budget. This budget builds on Mayor Bowser’s landmark 5.9% proposed increase in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (“UPSFF”).
Chairman Mendelson included a critical new investment of $41.6 million in funding for supporting students designated as “at-risk” (students who are on public assistance, are in foster care, and for high school students, are more than two years behind grade level). Students designated as “at-risk” make up nearly 50% of DC’s public school students. Over the next several years, this funding will flow directly to schools, which can use the funding to address unfinished learning, provide more joyful extracurricular activities, and more.
The latest research from EmpowerK12 shows that students saw lower learning gains last school year. Alarmingly, students designated as “at-risk” and Black and Latinx students were disproportionately impacted.
The budget also includes an update to the 2013 Education Adequacy Study, a key pillar of DC Students Succeed’s advocacy push. Students furthest from opportunity need and deserve additional resources, and that begins with our leaders having an updated understanding on the school funding system.
“We won’t know what adequacy really requires unless we once again undertake a rigorous, comprehensive study to determine what level of funding is needed to equitably accelerate learning. That’s why we’ve urged the Council and DME to commission such a study,” says Shannon T. Hodge, founding executive director of the DC Charter School Alliance. “A new, comprehensive adequacy study is critical because we want our policymakers to rely on in-depth analysis to inform their work.”
Other key aspects of the budget ensure DC students succeed include $2.4 million for school-based mental health, $15.3 million for out-of-school-time programs, $1.46 million for charter schools facilities and professional development for educators on the science of reading. The Council also moved to address housing affordability for DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter school teachers, expanding eligibility to the Employer-Assisted Housing Program, currently available to the District’s first-responders.
“We look forward to seeing the second vote on the budget, where we hope the DC Council will continue to support these priorities so that DC students succeed,” says Margie Yeager, partner at Education Forward DC.