DC Schools to Analyze Per-Pupil Funding Formula

In response to the Public Education Reform Commission Establishment Act of 2010, Washington D.C. lawmakers have hired The Finance Project to oversee the analysis of the city’s per-pupil funding formula, the Washington Post reports. Charter School advocates have argued that the step is long overdue because they feel like they’re being short-changed by the current formula. Many charter schools find themselves forced to cover legal expenses and maintenance costs out of their per-student kitty, while at district public schools, such expenses are covered from a different funding source.

The new commission aims to deliver its report by the last day of 2011, but their work has been help up somewhat by the “cumbersome” procurement process.

Although charter schools and district schools are both public, charter schools advocates contend that they should be funded in a similar way. Although Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright thinks that the District’s people in charge already have a fair idea of the problem, she does look forward to reading about the more nuanced issues behind the funding disparity. She warns, however, that this will not be about just jiggering with the funding, giving a bit more to one school and a bit less to the other until everything’s equal. She promises that whoever ends up getting more money in the end, can expect increased oversight as well.

“There are tradeoffs,” Wright said. “Charters chose to go the route of charters for a reason. Those [extra] resources and supports are going to come with a greater degree of accountability.”