Tuesday, April 19, 2016

EXTRA: DCPS Budget Oversight Responses Show Promising Trends for Afterschool in FY17

We are posting this special extra blog this week to follow up on our #ExpandLearningDC report. You can also download our statement here.

At the request of the DC Council’s Committee on Education, DCPS has provided a narrative of their proposed FY2017 budgets for afterschool and extended day at individual schools ahead of the chancellor’s budget oversight hearing on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

The school district’s responses to the committee show some promising new investments in afterschool programs in DCPS Title I elementary schools and education campuses going into the next school year:
  • DCPS will bring afterschool programs back in three elementary schools in Ward 7 in FY2017. Anne Beers, Randle Highlands and Smothers elementary schools all had Office of Out of School Time (OSTP) programming in school year 2014-2015 which was discontinued in the present school year. All three schools will see this programming restored in the coming school year, with 380 new seats for afterschool student enrollment and 37 new afterschool FTE positions between the three schools. This means a total of 52 schools will offer OSTP afterschool programming in the coming school year. (This is up from 49 as reported in our policy brief.)
  • DCPS projects adding more than 800 new afterschool spaces for student enrollment in FY2017. In addition to the seats for restored programming at the three new schools, DCPS plans to add 452 new afterschool seats in existing OSTP schools. Some of the biggest gains from the current school year into next will be seen at Bruce  Monroe at Park View, Noyes, Bunker Hill, Leckie and Stanton elementary schools. The total number of OSTP afterschool slots budgeted for in the coming school year is 7,700. (This is up from 6,790 at the end of last school year, as reported in our policy brief.)
  • DCPS’s total proposed budget for afterschool programming in FY2017 is $5.4 million, a 33% increase from the current school year. Funding will cover programming at three additional schools and the new afterschool enrollment spaces, as well as 183 new FTE positions to provide afterschool coverage at the schools, for a total of 804 FTE positions system-wide.
At this time last year, with reassurances from DCPS, the Committee on Education passed a budget that included cuts to afterschool, continuing a general trend of annual decline. Policy decisions that year dismantled much of OSTP’s coordinating capacity, and the budget cuts resulted in 25 site coordinator positions being cut within OSTP. As well, from school year 2014-2015 to this school year, OSTP programs were offered at eight fewer Title I schools. The FY2017 budget as proposed by DCPS shows promise of changing these trends, and we applaud these actions by the school district.

DCAYA’s Continued Advocacy
DCPS’s proposed budget signifies the start of an approach that more fully integrates expanded learning into our public education continuum. In alignment with such an approach, DCAYA has put forth the following policy recommendations for DCPS as they continue scaling up afterschool:
  1. DCPS should expand access to afterschool for kids in Title I elementary and middle schools which have a high number of “at-risk” students and relatively low or no OSTP enrollment.
  2. DCPS policy and practice should be responsive to family concerns in the out-of-school time hours.
  3. DCPS should better coordinate extended learning with expanded learning.
In scaling up these services and community-based partnerships, we also urge the school district to adopt our checklist of standards for quality out-of-school time programs and systems.

DCAYA will continue to monitor the FY2017 budget process as it relates to DCPS and to the DC Trust’s funding for community-based programs. In continuing to advocate for full access to quality expanded learning opportunities for all DCPS students, we will use newly available OSTP and “at-risk” enrollment data to update our #ExpandLearningDC policy brief and fact sheets in the coming weeks. Please check back on our blog to download these updated resources.

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