DCPS School Funding Model Overview

The Basics

DCPS strives to be good stewards of the funding we receive through the UPSFF to ensure every student has what they need to succeed. The DCPS School Funding 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. 

Any changes to the school funding model in FY25 are rooted in DCPS’ goal to ensure excellence for every student. By shifting our resources to keep students and their needs first, our schools will be able to better align their funds to meet the individual needs of the students they serve.

How Funding Is Allocated

Within enrollment based, targeted support, and stability, funding will be provided to schools in four different categories. This page briefly outlines the four categories below. For a deeper dive, go to “Categories of Funding Allocations” to read more details about the DCPS funding methodology.

Student-Based Funds

Student-based funds are based on projected student enrollment counts 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 matriculation and feeder patterns. Student-based funds follow the student and provide schools with a base amount for each student and additional student need weights that provide targeted per-pupil funding for Multilingual learners, students with IEPs and other student categories. 

Staffing Ratio Allocations

In addition to student-based dollars, the budget model also includes funding allocations based on staff and faculty counts. These staffing ratios ensure that essential services and instruction, such as Special Education, multilingual instruction, and student mental health services among others are resourced to schools that need these educators and staff most. Staffing ratio allocations do not include direct allocations of general education teachers as schools receive funding for those teachers through their student-based fund allocation.

Program Grant Allocations

The budget model also includes funding allocations through program grants for schools according to grade-level served at each school, specific programming offered, programming that supports students with greater needs.  A key program grant that DCPS schools will receive is UPSFF at-risk dollars including at-risk concentration to support student populations who are identified as at-risk

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 DCPS School Funding Model was designed to provide schools with year-over-year stability funds, with safety net checks, and with stabilization dollars that 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. The Safety Net is a permanent component of the school funding model.

DCPS will continue to stabilize schools at 95% of their previous year submitted budget including any additional funds allocated by DC Council such as Schools First in Budgeting and increased at-risk concentration dollars.