Welcome and Introduction

Chancellor’s Letter

Dear DCPS Community, 

As DC Public Schools approaches the one-year mark of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are faced with a choice: Recover by returning to the status quo, or recover by re-envisioning and rebuilding what is possible, together. We are choosing the latter, and this work is starting right away as schools receive their initial budget allocations for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), the fiscal year that covers the upcoming 2021-2022 School Year.  

DCPS’ FY22 budget prioritizes learning acceleration and resiliency for students. 

Mayor Bowser is committing more than $15 million compared to last year’s school budgets to secure a strong foundation for schools’ road to recovery, even as our student enrollment — a primary driver of funding — decreased this school year. We recognize the differing circumstances that families, particularly those with Pre-K students and adult learners, managed during this pandemic. This investment to stabilize school budgets reflects our commitment to current and future DCPS students.

You can view initial allocations for every school on our new budget website. New for FY22, secondary schools will have the opportunity to consider repurposing part of their security allocations as we develop new and innovative approaches to school safety across the district. 

We also recognize the urgency to support our students furthest from opportunity by placing learning recovery at the forefront. That is why we are aggressively targeting federal stimulus dollars to fund initiatives that address the academic and social emotional learning impacts of COVID-19. Our plan includes:

  • $33 million in student learning acceleration and social emotional supports. Most funds will be allocated directly to schools based on their enrollment and population of students identified as at-risk. By April, each school will begin a grassroots engagement approach with their teachers, staff, families, and community to develop a tailored learning recovery plan for summer and beyond. 
  • $27 million in student and educator technology. This investment will bring DCPS to a 1:1 student-to-device ratio for grades 3-12 and a 3:1 ratio for grades PK-2, as well as provide every teacher with a dedicated device.  
  • $10 million in sustained supports and services for schools, students, and families. These funds will support key operational services such as athletics, food services, curriculum and special education evaluation support, and family engagement and enrollment efforts. 
  • $9 million to initiate in-person learning innovations. This investment will support outdoor learning and learning partnerships in support of our goal to bring all students back to school in the fall.  

These investments are just the beginning of our collective commitment to build back stronger. We are focused not just on what is next for the upcoming school year, but what is beyond our horizon as a district. A key question guiding this work will be: 

How can we redefine DC Public Schools, ensuring that we are a district centered on the student experience and rooted in racial equity? 

We look forward to engaging further on what is most important to you in the months ahead. In the meantime, please take a moment to learn more about your FY22 school budget at dcpsbudget.com, where you can check out our updated DCPS Pocket Budget Guide, and stay engaged in opportunities from your Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) around the budget process this month.  

In partnership, 

Lewis D. Ferebee, Ed.D. 

Chancellor, DC Public Schools 


FY22 Budget Guide Updates

This section provides a high-level overview of what has changed in the budget development guide from Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) to Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22).

Features of the Budget Development Guide

Organization: In FY22, the budget guide is organized by flexibility level, which directly relates to petitions and budgeting. There are some instances where, within a program, allocations span across flexibility levels; this is noted in the guide. Flexibility levels are denoted on initial allocation worksheets and in a flexibility chart in the “Additional Information” section.

Components of Program Sections: Program sections will explicitly state if there are any restrictions or requirements related to the funding or allocation related to fund source, legislation, or graduation requirements, among others. Programs have also offered ideas and recommendations in the Menus of Options sections or Budgeting Recommendations.

New Budget Guidance Sections:

  • Dual Language
  • World Language
  • Art & Music
  • Health & Physical Education

Updated Flexibility Levels

In FY22, several allocation line items changed flexibility levels.

  • L2 (flexible with petition) to L3 (fully flexible, i.e., allocations are still provided, but the funding will go directly to a school’s available balance and be budgeted at the discretion of principals):
    • Art Supplies, Music Supplies, PE Supplies, Science Supplies
    • Assistant Principal Intervention
    • Program Coordinator (Pathways)
    • Pathways programming
    • Stabilization funding
    • Literacy Partnerships (this will no longer be pre-budgeted for schools)
  • L3 (fully flexible) to L2 (flexible with petition), i.e. positions are pre-budgeted for principals and flexible with a petition.
    • Kindergarten Aide
  • L2 (flexible with petition) to L1 (rarely flexible), i.e. positions are pre-budgeted for principals and are rarely flexible with a petition
    • Psychologist and Social Worker

Changes to Scheduling Requirements

For SY21-22, in response to requests from school communities for greater flexibility in scheduling varied course offerings, DCPS has removed Advance Placement (AP) and elective course minimum offering requirements. The existing AP and elective requirements may conflict with schools’ ability to offer other rigorous courses that are appropriate for their students, such as International Baccalaureate, early/dual college programs, NAF Academies, CTE programs, or other specialized programming. DCPS will continue to offer all students the opportunity to enroll in rigorous course offerings. Principals will work with their Instructional Superintendents to ensure their school creates rigorous, coherent, and customized course offerings to match their schools’ contexts and build budgets aligned to those offerings.

ESSER (Acceleration Funds)

As part of the investments described above in the Chancellor’s letter, schools will also receive additional stimulus funding to provide supplemental services to accelerate learning recovery and support students’ social-emotional development. A preliminary award amount is provided and details regarding how schools may use their funding and the planning timeline and process is forthcoming.

FY22 Technology Investment

DCPS is investing $27M in student and educator technology, bringing grade 3-12 to a 1:1 student-to-device ratio and 3:1 ratio for grades PK-2, DCPS will purchase and replace out-of-lifecycle devices centrally for all WTU staff to ensure teachers have devices for teaching and learning. Schools will receive devices based on the number of teaching staff after accounting for devices provided in fall 2019 central purchase and any recent modernization purchases. Schools are encouraged to prioritize technology funds for needs other than student and teacher devices. For more information, continue reading about “Technology Purchasing.”

Safe and Positive Schools: Security Reallocation Opportunity

As DCPS reimagines how we create safe and positive schools to ensure every student has an appropriate environment to encourage their growth, secondary schools have an opportunity to propose an innovative approach to school safety and climate in FY 22 through redirecting a portion of their security allocation.  Successful proposals will include: 

  • A description of how core operational functions will be managed (e.g. arrival and dismissal procedures, emergency response) 
  • A component related to evidence-based, trauma- informed practice and social-emotional learning  
  • Evidence of consultation with the school’s LSAT and 3-5 students

Schools can find more information about this opportunity and the application process in the School Security Section of the Budget Guide.

Extended Day Update

The SY2021-22 budget does not include designated funding for Extended Day. Schools may choose to use their flexible funds (e.g., administrative premium) or stimulus funds to support learning outside of traditional school hours. Schools that previously received this allocation are eligible for stabilization and will receive it if their entire budget would have been less than 95% of their FY21 submitted budget.

New Position: Restorative Justice Coordinator

The Restorative Justice Coordinator position supports school climate and culture. More information is available in the School Culture/Social Emotional Learning section. This is not an allocated position, though Principals can budget for it through petitions or using flexible funding.

Budgeting for Special Education LEA Representative Designee

Schools are required to include a Local Education Agency (LEA) representative as part of each Individualized Education Program team. Principals will be assigned to this role, though they may designate another staff member for this role. If principals designate an eligible and qualified staff member who is a teacher or Teacher Leader (TLI), they will need to budget for extra-duty pay in a line called “Special Education LEA Representative Designee.” The rate is $638/year for elementary schools and $798/year for a high school.

Position Name Changes

  • Guidance Counselor is now titled School Counselor
  • Afterschool Administrative Aide is now titled Afterschool Site Leader
  • Afterschool Aide is now titled Afterschool Paraprofessional
  • Library Media Specialist is now titled School Librarian

New NPS Budgeting Guidance

  • Literacy Partnerships: Schools that are interested in continuing their literacy partnership must budget the appropriate amount of funds into contracts. To increase flexibility in FY22, these funds are not pre-budgeted.
  • ANet: Schools may budget for additional school leadership professional development.
  • Relay Graduate School of Education: Schools can opt in to receive leadership training and coaching support from Relay Graduate School of Education by budgeting contract dollars. The cost ranges depending on the package of services and support. Read more about this in the NPS Budgeting Guidance and contact Chris.Miller@k12.dc.gov.

Budget Assistance

During the budget development process, a principal may identify extenuating circumstances that are unmet by the initial school budget allocation. In such cases, the principal may request budget assistance, an additional single-year allocation. Principals may only submit one request form for consideration, though principals may submit more than one request on the form and rank their requests.  The steps of the budget assistance review process are: 

  1. The principal completes a Budget Assistance Request Form. The principal provides a rationale for the request(s) and explains the intended impact and/or implications of not receiving that support. Requests should include supporting data.  
  2. Instructional Superintendents and Chiefs of Schools review requests and make recommendations to the Deputy Chancellors, who will make the final decision regarding whether to grant the assistance. 
  3. The School Finance Team will share final decisions with principals. 

Please note, Budget Assistance is not allocated on a first come first serve basis; however, to be considered, requests must be submitted by 5PM on February 23rd, which is also the end of the first petition window. Principals may adjust their budget assistance request by saving the form or making edits after submission. However, once it closes, principals may not make changes and the submission is final.  

It is anticipated that principals will receive final decisions for their Budget Assistance requests by the end of the day on Friday 2/26, which is before the close of the second petition window.  

Chancellor’s Budget Assistance: 

In FY22, in collaboration with Instructional Superintendents, the Chancellor allocated X$ to X number of schools in Chancellor’s Budget Assistance (CBA) based on a holistic review of schools’ budgets and needs. This funding is a L3 (fully flexible) allocation that is included as part of these schools’ initial allocation, supplemental to their comprehensive staffing model allocation. CBA is separate from the budget assistance outlined above, which occurs during budget development and directly requested by principals. 

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