Washington, DC – Today, DC Charter School Alliance, an advocacy organization that supports and represents the robust charter school sector in our nation’s capital, called upon district officials to prioritize increased education funding in the 2022 budget. In a letter addressed to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor Paul Kihn, DC Charter School Alliance Founding Executive Director Shannon Hodge urged the administration and Council of the District of Columbia to support continued and increased investments in education to ensure the more than 90,000 students in the District are receiving the best possible education outcomes.
“While our students have made significant improvements over the years, our investments have not yet produced the education outcomes necessary for every part of our city to thrive,” writes Shannon Hodge, founding Executive Director of the DC Charter School Alliance. “With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting low-income communities, even more is needed to close opportunity gaps.”
“Even as the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects the communities public charter schools serve, we’ve continued to provide a high-quality education for our students. From COVID testing to vaccine education to transforming HVAC systems and stockpiling PPE, charters are going above and beyond academics to ready for full reopening,” said Patricia Brantley, CEO of Friendship Public Charter School. “But to adequately support the high number of students living in poverty and at risk of academic failure, we need additional financial resources to not only assure safety but to deliver the academic programs and supported staff that best serve those most in need. That’s the only way we’re going to close education opportunity gaps and ensure every community in our city thrives.”
In addition to prioritizing a safe reopening and full recovery brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the DC Charter School Alliance is calling upon the Mayor and the Council to commit to the following education funding commitments in the 2022 budget:
- Increase the UPSFF foundation level by 4% to partially close the gap between current funding levels and the recommended levels from the 2013 DC Education Adequacy Study.
- Increase the facilities allotment by 3.1% to ensure that charter schools continue to receive funds needed to secure and maintain school buildings.
- Increase the at-risk funding weight to .37, the level recommended in the 2013 adequacy study, to direct needed funds to our students most in need of targeted interventions and support.
- Provide $6.4M to expand the Department of Behavioral Health’s school-based mental health program, which will enable 80 additional schools to address student and family mental health needs that instability and loss during the last year have likely exacerbated.
- Increase the English learner weight to .61, the level recommended in the 2013 adequacy study, to support undocumented students who are often excluded from receiving other financial supports due to lack of documentation.
The DC Charter School Alliance is also recommending the following legislative adjustments so that schools can better serve the most marginalized students:
- Create a statutory requirement for review of the definition of “at-risk” under the DC Code to ensure the definition appropriately captures the students in need of additional funding support.
- Continue the automatic escalation of facilities funding for public charter schools with a 3.1% annual increase for each of the next five years to ensure continuity of funding for charter school facilities.
The full text of the letter can be found here.