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Per-student funding increasing, but staff cuts possible under proposed DC schools budget | WTOP

February 22, 2024
  • D.C. Policy Center

On February 19, 2024, Executive Director Yesim Sayin was quoted by WTOP:

Yesim Sayin, executive director of the D.C. Policy Center, said when the extra funding ends, school budgets are projected to “experience a loss of about 15%.”

Many of the city’s public charter schools used the funding to hire staff, Sayin said, so “when the money disappears, they really don’t have much of a choice but to cut that position because they’re not able to pay the salaries.”

While DCPS will get millions more in extra money because of the formula increase, almost half of it will likely be used to backpay previously negotiated salary increases as part of a deal with the Washington Teachers’ Union, Sayin said.

“Even though DCPS is receiving more money, they’re not going to be able to expand their teacher force,” Sayin said. “They may have to let go of some other positions, maybe teacher aides or other positions, because the salary increase is exhausting a lot of their resources.”

Without the stimulus money, Sayin said school leaders will have to focus not only on retention, but also, “How can I have smart retention, where I do have to cut my staff, but I’m cutting in a way that makes sense for the students’ needs.”

The city will also be challenged to help students catch up in the classroom without the extra money, Sayin said.

“How do we solve this recovery problem if the money goes away, and if you’re not able to invest in new programs?” Sayin said. “That I believe is going to be the biggest challenges for D.C.’s public schools, public charter schools and the system-level agencies to really investigate.”

Read More: Per-student funding increasing, but staff cuts possible under proposed DC schools budget

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


D.C. Policy Center

Established in 2016, the D.C. Policy Center is a non-partisan research and policy organization committed to advancing policies for a strong and vibrant economy in the District of Columbia. Through rigorous research and collaboration, the D.C. Policy Center develops and tests policy ideas, disseminates its findings, and engages in constructive dialogue and debate.

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