Where to Start?
Watch the video below to learn more about how DCPS arrives at a school's initial budget allocation.
To help you navigate the planning process and available resources around how school budgets get made, check out our new pocket guide. Follow this link to view on your phone, tablet or computer or download as a PDF.
Building the Budget
The DCPS budget cycle is a year-round process and one that provides opportunities for stakeholders across our community — including parents, students, and principals, teachers and staff — to engage in the development of their schools' budgets.
Every October, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) audits student enrollment at DC Public Schools and Public Charter Schools. Student enrollment is the biggest driver of school budgets, so it is important that the number of students enrolled in DCPS is accurate. The audit informs the next step in developing school budgets; projecting what student enrollment might look like in the upcoming year.
In the fall, DCPS also holds events to gain public feedback on the budget and school priorities including a student budget hearing, a public budget hearing, and community forums. You can find more information about our budget engagement at dcps.dc.gov/budget
In the winter, DCPS provides each school with a projeted student enrollment count for the following year. It’s followed by an initial budget allocation is based on each school's unique population and is determined by the Comprehensive Staffing Model, non-personnel costs, and additional funding opportunities available. School principals and their Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) gather input from their community to build a budget that covers required positions and make decisions on flexible spending areas.
DCPS then compiles and submits all school budgets, along with that of the central office, to the Mayor, which goes into the overall DC budget for Council approval.
So How Do You Calculate My School's Allocation?
Great question! One of the challenges in the budget development process is ensuring that the needs of individual schools are being met within the DCPS budget development process. No two schools serve the exact same population. Even if the schools have the same number of students, a variety of factors affects the allocation from which a school can build its budget. Those factors include the number of students receiving special education services or the number of early childhood programs it offers. If those numbers change, the budget allocation also changes. DCPS accounts for the following when calculating initial school budget allocations each year:
- Projected student enrollment;
- Special education student population;
- English Language Learner (ELL) student population;
- Free and Reduced-Price Meals (FARM)eligible students;
- School configuration (Elementary School, K-8 or 6-12 Model School, Middle School, or High School);
- Teacher-to-student ratios by grade configurations;
- Specialty school status;
- Non-Personnel Spending (NPS); and
- Per-pupil funding minimum.
You can see there are a lot of factors involved in developing a school's budget and they are all driven by enrollment to some degree. DCPS uses a model to allocate positions and funds, called the Comprehensive Staffing Model (CSM). Each school type has a slightly different CSM, and you can see the different ones below.
Download the Data
Though we think the dashboards on this site are super informative and great, we understand that you may want to crunch the numbers yourself. We think that is a great idea, so we have provided our source data below. If you have any questions of feedback, please let us know by filling out the form under out Give Us Feedback! page.