Updated Budget Model Overview

The Basics

DCPS strives to be good stewards of the funding we receive to ensure every student has what they need to succeed. Over the last two years, we listened to feedback from school leaders and the DCPS community to understand the challenges with our current school funding model. We enlisted support from independent budget experts to help DCPS develop an updated model that follows best practices and puts the needs of our students at the center of decision making.

Changes to the new model are rooted in DCPS’ goal to ensure excellence for every student. By shifting our resources to keep students and their needs first, our schools should be able to better align their funds to meet the individual needs of the students they serve. There are several factors that changed the way budgets will be allocated to schools.

How Funding Will Be Allocated

Within enrollment based, targeted support, and stability, funding will be allocated to schools in four different categories:

Student Based Funds

The updated budget model combines the strengths of a staff-based funding model and student-based funding model to ensure that all schools have the flexibility needed to provide equitable learning opportunities aligned to their students’ needs. Student-based school budgets are based on the expected student enrollment count for the upcoming school year. This count is determined using historical enrollment data and factors that affect enrollment including new housing developments, new schools, and grade level sizes matriculating through schools and feeder patterns.

Staffing Ratio Allocations

In addition to student-based dollars, the updated budget model also includes funding allocations based on staff and faculty counts. These staffing ratios ensure that essential services, such as special education and English language instruction, are resourced to schools that need these educators and staff most.

Program Grant Allocations

In addition to student- and staff-based dollars, the budget model includes funding allocations for supplemental program grants that are specific to school needs. Schools will receive additional funds to support students with greater needs. A key program grant that DCPS schools will receive is for at-risk student populations

Stability Funding Allocations

As DC Public Schools continue to experience shifts in enrollment, it is important that our budget model effectively supports schools of all sizes. The updated budget model was designed to provide schools with year-over-year stability funds, with safety net checks and stabilization dollars that will protect school budgets from the impact of fluctuating enrollment and ensure that schools can afford a baseline level of general education services with their student-based funds.

While Stabilization law requires that all schools receive at least 95% of their previous year school budgets (exceptions are allowed), in FY23, DCPS will provide additional stability for schools by ensuring that no school receives less than their FY22 March submitted budget through Hold Harmless Funds. To provide DCPS schools with stability during the pandemic, schools may receive one-time Mayor’s Recovery Funds.