Public Charter School Facilities Funding Freeze Continues in 2017 Budget Approved by D.C. City Council
May 18, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – Following the D.C. Council’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Support Act last night, Democrats for Education Reform D.C. Director Catharine Bellinger released the following statement:
“It is extremely troubling that the Council’s Committee of the Whole, as well as the Council’s Education Committee, failed to make any increase to the Charter Facilities Allotment, which provides funding on a per-pupil basis to the District’s public charter schools. While the FY17 Budget makes some critical investments to help the District’s public school students, particularly those experiencing homelessness, it is clear that funding school buildings for our 38,905 public charter school students was an afterthought during the Council’s budget process.
“Along with local allies including Friends Of Choice In Urban Schools (FOCUS), the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools, and Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE), DFER DC fought hard for a modest increase of 2.2% – a total of $2.8 million – for charter school facilities this budget cycle. But, despite this broad-based advocacy and more than 200 parent and grandparent phone calls to Council offices calling for right-sizing the funding level, city leaders still failed to invest in the 45% of the District’s public school students who attend public charter schools.
“The Charter Facilities Allotment, currently $3,124 per student, has been relatively flat since 2008 when former Mayor Adrian Fenty’s administration set it at $3,109 per student. Unfortunately, in this year’s public education budget proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and approved last night by the Council, the allotment remains frozen at the FY16 level of $3,124.
“Since the allotment was set in 2008, at the peak of the financial crisis, the cost of construction and private lease rates for the charter facilities market have risen astronomically. Moreover, the 2008 amount of $3,109 would be $3,439 in 2016 inflation-adjusted dollars. The continued freeze puts extreme financial pressure on the city’s public charter schools, at times requiring them to dip into operating dollars intended for teaching and learning in order to create adequate learning spaces for their students.
“While we are disheartened by this year’s budget proposal, moving forward we call on the DC Council to:
- Help ease the financial burden facing our public charter schools by increasing the charter facilities allotment floor to $3,250.
- De-politicize the setting of the allotment by tying the funding level to an index that factors in inflation and the cost of construction.
“We look forward to supporting candidates for Council who will champion equitable funding and high-quality public education in both the district and charter school sectors.”
Contact: Catharine Bellinger, email@example.com
August 16, 2018
June 27, 2018