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Money woes for DC’s public schools system | The D.C. Line

March 07, 2024

On February 20, 2024, The Fiscal Future of Public Education in the District of Columbia was cited in The D.C. Line:

Bowser and Ferebee may have chosen to understate the fiscal hurt coming hard and soon to public schools. However, the D.C. Policy Center provided a klieg light with a report — “The Fiscal Future of Public Education in the District of Columbia” — released mere hours before the mayor and chancellor distributed their documents. 

The center’s report, prepared by Yesim Sayin and Chelsea Coffin, revealed that DC’s budgets for public and public charter schools “show a 56 percent increase in spending while student enrollment grew by approximately 9 percent in the same period” of 2019-2024. In particular, there was increased spending on after-school programs as well as technology.  

Much of that — though not all of it — was what the Policy Center called non-formula spending. “Prior to fiscal year 2021, these non-formula dollars made up a negligible share of [Local Education Agencies’] budgets,” wrote Sayin and Coffin.

“However, by fiscal year 2024, their share had increased to an estimated 15 percent.”

“The expiration of federal fiscal aid, combined with a weakening revenue picture and lackluster enrollment growth, points to a loss of significant resources and a potential fiscal cliff for the District’s public schools,” wrote Sayin and Coffin. 

“It will be difficult to make up for these gaps through a formula funding increase,” they predicted.

Read More: Money woes for DC’s public schools system

Additional reading: The fiscal future of public education in the District of Columbia