TO: Abigail Smith, Deputy Mayor for Education
FROM: Ed Lazere and Soumya Bhat, DC Fiscal Policy Institute
SUBJECT: Feedback on DC Public Education Adequacy Study’s Initial Recommendations
DATE: October 18, 2013
Thank you for the opportunity to offer written feedback on the DC public education adequacy study’s draft recommendations. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) engages in research and public education on the fiscal and economic health of the District of Columbia, with a particular emphasis on policies that affect low- and moderate-income residents. As a member of the national advisory group for the study, DCFPI was engaged during the research process and has already shared several of the comments below with Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) staff. We look forward to working with you on any of these points before the adequacy study is in its final format.
This input is based on the draft executive summary released by DME on October 1 and the handouts distributed at the October 7, 2013 stakeholder meeting. See below for the highlights of DCFPI’s comments:
- We strongly support increased investment in the UPSFF and the addition of a supplemental weight for at-risk students. However, we feel the proposed definitions of at-risk students, both a planned temporary definition and a permanent one to be implemented later, does not adequately capture this population.
- We are concerned that assigning facility M&O costs using a per-pupil basis to both DCPS and DCPCS does not account for sector differences.
- We are not convinced that all functions currently funded outside of the UPSFF should be moved within the UPSFF.
- We are encouraged by the DME’s interest in pursuing co-location strategies instead of closing underutilized schools, and urge you to add more specific recommendations for this strategy.
- We welcome the report’s recommendations regarding greater transparency of both sectors’ budget and expense information in a standard format.
- We support the reconvening of the Technical Working Group to advise OSSE and the DME in the monitoring of the UPSFF.
To read the complete document, click here.