School Funding Equity

dcfpi_logoIs funding budgeted for at-risk students reaching those youth? Are schools with the most at-risk students receiving the most funding? Soumya Bhat, policy analyst with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, joined the Education Town Hall on March 12 to discuss these and other questions related to the DC budgets, past and future.

Here is DCFPI’s article on the at-risk funding, including a powerful, interactive tool showing which schools at which level in which ward received more or less than the average $2079. The data tool was developed in collaboration with Code for DC. Visit DCFPI’s website for additional “numbers” relevant to DC and its schools.

See also Emma Brown’s March 12 article in the Washington Post about the 23 states around the U.S. where the poorest students are receiving less in educational funding than their wealthier counterparts.

Of related interest: legislation just introduced to the DC Council would add transparency requirements to financial dealings of local charter operations. A summary of the bill is posted by; check back for full text of “Public Charter School Fiscal Transparency Amendment Act of 2015” (B21-0115), which is not yet posted on the Council’s website. The focus of the bill appears to be on management corporations. It is not yet clear whether such legislation would affect Rocketship Education, which funnels taxpayer funding through the charter operator to Dreambox, a for-profit curriculum provider sharing financial interests with the charter school. The Education Town Hall will be following this.

What’s In Store

DCFPI Budget Education Event
March 19, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Details here.

The Education Town Hall broadcasts from Historic Anacostia in Washington, DC, Thursdays
at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on We Act Radio.
Listen live via TuneIn.
Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.

Soumya Bhat, Policy Analyst, DCFPI

Soumya is Education Finance and Policy Analyst at DCFPI, where her work focuses on improving the fiscal transparency and equity of public education in the District. In this role, she conducts research and analysis to help DC residents better understand school finance and the effects of education policies on the city’s low- and moderate-income students.  Formerly, she worked at The Finance Project where she conducted state fiscal mapping studies and provided research and technical assistance to state leaders on how to sustain early childhood and out-of-school time programs.  She also conducted policy research for the New America Foundation’s education program.

Soumya earned a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Birmingham-Southern College. She also holds a Masters degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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