The fiscal future of public education in the District of Columbia 

February 13, 2024
Featured Image
Credit: iStock, Ivan Balvan

Tuesday, February 13, 2024


Webinar – register below to receive the Zoom link

The fiscal landscape for the District of Columbia and the public education system have experienced important changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 56% increase in funding for schools between fiscal years 2019 and 2024. One-third of this increase was driven by ESSER federal grants for pandemic recovery and local non-formula resources. This additional funding has allowed D.C.’s schools to hire additional staff, promote accelerated learning activities and strategies, support student and staff well-being, and more. 

The ending of ESSER federal grants in September of 2024 (with an extension for some spending) as well as the uncertainty around renewal of local non-formula funds could lead to an estimated gap in funding of 13% for DCPS schools and 15% for public charter schools. This gap occurs at a challenging time, with other fiscal pressures and persistently acute needs for recovery in education, especially in the areas of achievement and attendance. 

Our upcoming report, The fiscal future of public education in the District of Columbia, explains the sources of growth in school budgets, indicators of future fiscal distress, continued need for recovery for D.C.’s students, and city-level factors that could influence future budgets. We close with suggested strategies for future school spending. 

Opening remarks
Maya Martin Cadogan, Founder & Executive Director, PAVE 

Introduction to report 
Dr. Yesim Sayin, Executive Director, D.C. Policy Center 

Panel discussion 

Dr. Nora Gordon, Economist and Professor, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy 

Danielle Branson, Deputy Superintendent of Academics and Schools, Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Paris Saunders, Associate Chief Financial Officer, Office of the Chief Financial Officer  

Patricia Brantley, Chief Executive Officer, Friendship Public Charter Schools 

Betty Chang, Managing Partner of Field Building, Education Resource Strategies 

Event recording