Mayor Announces COVID-19 Recovery Investments for DCPS

Federal Funds Ensure No Reduction in 2022 School Budgets

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Payne Elementary School is pictured in a 2019 file photo. E.O'Gorek/CCN

On Thursday, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced an additional $14 million in recovery funding for DC Public Schools (DCPS) budgets for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), the fiscal year that covers the upcoming 2021-2022 School Year.

These additional recovery funds, supported through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, will ensure that no DCPS school will experience a reduction in their FY22 budget.

Parents previously expressed concern about cuts to school budgets for the 2021-22 school year, viewed as a year of recovery after pandemic learning. DCPS school budgets are tied to per-student enrollment.

In testimony delivered April 2 to the DC Council Committee of the Whole, Ward 6 Parent Valerie Jablow said that Local School Advisory Teams (LSATs) were being asked to choose between academic and emotional support in a time of increased needs. She said that 51 percent of schools lost staff positions for the 2021-2022 school year compared to the year previous, cuts made even prior to the pandemic.

The announcement ensures each school will remain funded at least at 2021 levels into the 2022 school year. “These additional recovery funds will hold schools harmless from the impact of year-over-year enrollment shifts and fulfill all outstanding budget assistance requests from school communities,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee.

School leaders will consult with Local School Advisory Teams (LSATs) to confirm how best to use these flexible funds as schools prepare to welcome back all students and staff to in-person learning in the fall. These funds are being allocated to schools where need has already been identified through the FY22 budget planning process.

In February, DCPS announced a $15 million local fund increase to DCPS school budgets compared to last year as part of the Mayor’s commitment to current and future students. DCPS’ FY22 budget also targets federal stimulus dollars to fund district-wide initiatives that address the academic and social emotional learning impacts of COVID-19.

This includes $33 million in student learning acceleration and social emotional supports that will begin this summer and $27 million in student and educator technology, including a device for every educator.

The Mayor’s budget proposal included another $10 million in sustained supports and core services for schools, students and families, plus $9 million to initiate in-person learning innovations, such as outdoor learning.

Visit dcpsbudget.com to view FY22 allocations for every school