Key Features of the Council’s Seven New Education Bills: June 2013

Fair Student Funding and School-Based Budgeting Act of 2013

  • Proposes changes to the supplemental local funds (weights) provided through the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF) for students in specific categories.
    • Would provide additional funding starting in the 2014-2015 school year based on the number of low-income students (those eligible for free and reduced meals) and high school students in schools with a graduation rate of less than 75 percent in the last school year.
    • Would provide another weight starting in the 2016-2017 school year based on the number of 11th and 12th grade students who are participating in a career and technical education program.
    • The bill does not specify the level of the new weights, leaving them to be determined.
    • Would require DC Public Schools to allocate at least 80 percent of its local funds directly to individual school budgets.
    • Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, DCPS school principals would have more control of their budgets, while being expected to meet standards set by the Chancellor.
      • Principals would report how their proposed budget will boost student achievement and address student needs and meet the Chancellor’s standards.
      • Principals would be evaluated annually based on implementation of budget, including whether or not it improved student achievement.
      • Chancellor would make all school budgets public and available online.
      • Would not allow any DCPS school to see more than a 5 percent loss in local funds from previous fiscal year due to application of DCPS’ school funding formula. This does not include enrollment losses incurred because of school closing/consolidation or removal of grade levels.
      • Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, all DC high school students who qualify for free and reduced meals would have public transportation costs fully subsidized.

Comprehensive Planning and Utilization of School Facilities Act of 2013

  • Calls for an annual review of school facilities and establishes a process for “surplus” DCPS properties no longer needed for classroom, instruction, swing space or administrative purposes.
  • On October 1st of every year, starting in 2014, the Chancellor would be required to submit an “Educational Facilities Plan” to the Mayor and Council. The plan would cover DCPS facilities needs for the next 5 years and offer recommendations on whether or not surplus properties are needed in the near future.
  • The Department of General Services (DGS) would determine which DCPS properties are considered surplus and keep a list of such properties online, updated annually within 75 days of the release of the Educational Facilities Plan.
  • Would declare the following 12 DCPS properties as surplus:  Ferebee-Hope ES; Gibbs ES; Hamilton Center; Kenilworth ES; Langston ES; Mamie D. Lee School; Marshall ES; Ron Brown MS; Shaed EC; Wilkinson ES; Winston EC; Young ES.
  • Would offer the right of first offer of surplus school facilities to specific entities, including public charter schools that are “high-performing and financially sound” and those that have been approved to open a new charter school.
  • Would empower the Public Charter School Board (PCSB) to sue the District on behalf of a public charter school if the District does not comply with the first-offer requirement.

Individual School Accountability Act of 2013

  • Would require the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to establish a performance framework and benchmarks, by January 1, 2015, to assess local schools.
  • Would require OSSE to publicize results of previous school year’s evaluations by October 1st, starting in 2016. Schools that do not meet performance framework criteria would be deemed “underperforming” by OSSE.
  • If a DCPS school is underperforming for 2 years in a row, the Chancellor would have two choices:
    • Create a turnaround plan for the school. This plan, developed with the help of a stakeholder group, would include actions such as the reallocation of the school budget, additional funding, requiring all school staff and leadership to reapply for their positions, expansion of the school day or year, and expanded curriculum.
    • Designate the school as a “DCPS Innovation School.” An Innovation School would be funded the same way as other DCPS schools, but would be able to receive additional private/public funds, partner with private organizations, and establish its own curriculum, budget, and staffing policies. It would be exempt of provisions of a collective bargaining agreement if a majority of unionized school employees agree. It would also be exempt from certain local regulations.

To read the full summary, click here.


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