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Mayor Bowser and DC Public Schools Release Initial Schools Budgets

Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Increase to the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula Will Help Cover Increased Personnel and Operational Costs Amid Sunsetting Federal Relief Funds

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) released initial school budgets for Fiscal Year 2025. A 12.4% increase to the uniform per student funding formula (UPSFF) foundation level for FY25 will help cover increases in compensation from recently negotiated collective bargaining agreements and mitigate the loss of one-time federal and local pandemic recovery funds.  
“The FY 2025 DC Public Schools budget reflects our approach to budgeting this year: very tough choices balanced by an unwavering commitment to our DC values. We are heading into the most difficult budget season since the Great Recession. Federal relief funds are ending, our personnel and operational costs are higher, and commercial property tax collections are lower,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that even as we increase our local investments in public education, our schools will still feel the impacts of rightsizing. Over the past three school years, we have made significant investments that allowed our schools to pivot from the pandemic, reopen strong, and get back on track. In the midst of it all, we negotiated a historic labor contract that ensures our teachers remain among the best paid teachers in the country. Going forward, our focus remains on the pillars of our comeback: public schools, public safety, and Downtown DC.” 
Updated in SY2021-22 following school and community engagement, the DCPS budget model is based on three factors: enrollment, targeted support, and year-over-year stability. With a focus on transparency, sustainability, and equity, funding for schools is aligned to both student enrollment as well as need. In FY25, public schools will continue to receive funding aligned to their student enrollment and level of need, with additional funds allocated to support students with greater needs. No school will lose more than 5% of their submitted budget, inclusive of one-time local funds. 
The UPSFF, which will now be at a per-pupil foundation of $14,668, is the primary funding source for DC’s public and public charter schools and allocates funds to each student in DC based on their individual needs, regardless of the school they attend. In FY25, the UPSFF will also include increases to the weights for at-risk students, alternative students, and adult students, ensuring a greater proportion of dollars go to students with the greatest needs. 
As the school system continues to rightsize, the increase in the UPSFF will help absorb higher personnel and operational costs.  

  • Over the past five years, DCPS has added nearly one school-based staff member for every newly enrolled student, with the number of full-time employees growing by 18% compared to a 2% increase in enrollment. 
  • In 2022, the Mayor, Chancellor, and Washington Teachers’ Union agreed to a contract that included robust back pay and a 12% increase in salary over four years and a 4% retention bonus. 

 In light of the constrained FY25 budget, schools will receive guidance to ensure they respond to budget pressures while supporting the unique needs of their students.
“DCPS’ steadfast commitment to equity, excellence in instruction, and educating the whole child has driven thoughtful, strategic investments that have resulted in important progress, including improved graduation rates, enrollment growth, and strong highly-effective teacher retention,” said DCPS Chancellor Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee. “Investments such as deepening math comprehension for students, educators, and families as well as supporting our students’ smooth transition into middle school align with the goals highlighted in our five-year Capital Commitment strategic plan. And as we are faced with FY25’s tough budget decisions, we are confident that our priorities will help ensure our continued recovery.”  
Initial FY25 budgets for each of DCPS’ 117 schools are now available on Information about DCPS school budgets for FY25, including individual school allocation worksheets and a mobile-friendly pocket budget guide, will also be available at  

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