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S.H.A.P.P.E. Testimony and Letters

S.H.A.P.P.E. uses letters and testimony as a way of letting our appointed and elected leaders know where the DCPS high schools stand on an issue.  The S.H.A.P.P.E. meetings provide input on the content, there is also an email solicitation and often follow up phone calls to solicit the thoughts from any group that is under-represented at the meetings.  

DCPS Budget Hearing on November 14, 2017

Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators

Cathy Reilly- Executive Director

 

Thank you for this opportunity to testify or submit written testimony on the FY19 Budget.  We strongly support budget decisions that will facilitate the stability and growth of the DCPS high schools and the schools in their feeder patterns.  With the Master Facility Plan due out soon, the DCPS budget planning is crucial.  Here are some specific suggestions:

  1. Convene a standing budget advisory committee composed of leadership representatives of the different types of schools as well as representative community advocates and parents.  This committee would look at different possible data runs for this year and help with the proposed move to a different type of budgeting planned for the next budget cycle.   Here is a former proposal that could be a beginning.  The goals of the committee in this proposal were: provide schools the budget that will enable them to offer a quality education to their students; equitably allocate resources among the local schools; find efficiencies in budgeting in order to maximize the resources available for all students; and provide transparency and public outreach on budget issues and policies.
  2. Address the issues that arose last year primarily with large high schools like Wilson and CHEC as well as schools wrestling with declining enrollment.  The calculation for the teacher /pupil ratio does not include calculating for planning periods. This is one of the reasons schools are experiencing a shortage.  The cost of the LEAP program has also not been taken into account , many schools are absorbing the expense of teachers being out of the classroom.
  3. Ensure that the At Risk funds are allocated as designed to the identified students and that the programs or initiatives are ones that will support these students.  They could also benefit others but should definitely help the at risk students.  At risk funds should not be supplanting required funds.
  4. Plan for growth.  This is a report put out by the charter schools that outlines the growth they see is needed in their sector in order to provide “quality seats”.  I find it deeply concerning that the ward I live in is labeled a green ward in need of more charter schools.  We perceive the need to be for less “choice seats” and more for by right places in neighborhood schools. DCPS will need to be very explicit and strong in its planning and programming to make that a reality in all the wards. According to the preliminary audit this year, since SY 2014-15, DCPS is up 621 kids, while charters are up 5,745.  Initiatives that could support growth in this budget should include:
    1. Increase the capacity for early childhood seats across the city
    2. Increase the capacity for early childhood seats in Ward 4 schools losing their middle grades and make it clear in the lottery.
    3. Let the public know about the programming and opportunities in the high schools – do not leave this to the individual schools to manage by themselves. For example, 10 career academies, opportunities in Global Studies, IB programming; Bilingual Education, State of the Art Construction and Design etc. 
    4. With KIPP expanding by 1000 students and Ron Brown opening in Ward 7, develop a plan with the Woodson community to attract students.  For example, give charter school students ending at grade 8 in ward 7 the right to attend Woodson.
    5. The strategic plan identifies a bottom line goal for enrollment growth. We also need planning that acknowledges that DCPS is planning aggressively to respond to the projected growth in the District’s school age population. DCPS should have a plan to ensure that it will maintain and grow its market share so that the city retains a publicly managed education infrastructure.  This will require a projected higher number. Just as the charter sector has made its plan public, DCPS should allow the citizens a chance to comment on its submission to the Master Facility Plan. 

 

Thank you for your attention to these issues and we look forward to working with you going forward.  

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Cathy Reilly,
Feb 4, 2013, 6:19 PM
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Cathy Reilly,
Feb 22, 2013, 1:19 PM
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Cathy Reilly,
Mar 19, 2013, 6:37 PM
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May 17, 2013, 2:50 PM
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Jul 10, 2013, 11:21 AM
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Nov 11, 2014, 6:20 AM
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Nov 11, 2014, 9:45 AM
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Feb 27, 2017, 1:54 PM
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Aug 5, 2016, 1:23 PM
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Nov 16, 2017, 12:55 PM
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Jun 23, 2017, 12:10 PM
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Cathy Reilly,
Nov 16, 2017, 12:55 PM