More funding could soon be going to D.C. schools that have a higher percentage of students who are considered to be at-risk, under a proposal announced by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.
“This should be a game-changer in terms of getting additional resources to those schools,” Mendelson said.
While schools in the District already get funding for at-risk students, Mendelson’s plan would tack on additional funding for schools where more than 40% of students are deemed at-risk.
Schools that have 70% of students considered to be at-risk would get another funding increase on top of that.
According to D.C. law, at-risk is defined as “a DCPS student or a public charter school student” who is identified as homeless, in the foster care system or collecting benefits such as food stamps, also known as the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”
“We are putting this money directly in the budget for these individual schools,” Mendelson said.
Funding going “directly” to schools would be a change from the current system where “per-student” money for at-risk students first goes through the school system’s central office.
According to Mendelson, Hendley Elementary School in Southeast has the highest percentage of at risk students when compared to all schools across the District — 91%.
Under Mendelson’s plan, Hendley would get more than $130,000 in additional funding.
“The goal here is that there are more resources for at-risk students,” Mendelson said.
Mendelson’s proposal is part of ongoing budget negotiations within the D.C. Council, as Council members work out a 2023 spending plan.
One of the most prominent items in the budget is Mayor Muriel Bowser’s call for $30 million to recruit and retain police officers.
The District needs to act now to increase its numbers, she said, to prevent a situation in which there are slow 911 response times due to a lack of officers.