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Posted at 1:12 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

School budgets delayed a third time

By Bill Turque

For the third time in two weeks, DCPS has delayed delivery of initial fiscal 2012 budget allocations to individual schools while it searches for more money. The latest due date was Tuesday. Principals, teachers and parents use the allocations to shape local school spending for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

"At this point in time, those allocations are not ready to go out to schools, because we still believe that additional dollars remain to be pushed to local school budgets," said a central office memo to principals and instructional superintendents. This time, no new date was mentioned. "In the next week, we will communicate a new timeline for receiving your allocations," the memo said.

The delay puts added pressure on the winter budget calendar, which includes meetings with school communities and appeals of enrollment estimates set by the central office. DCPS is required to publish a finished budget proposal for public scrutiny before Mayor Vincent C. Gray transmits it to the D.C. Council by April 1.

Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson told principals at a meeting last week that she was pressing Gray for more money.

"I'm holding out for more," she told the principals, according to notes from a participant.

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By Bill Turque  | February 2, 2011; 1:12 PM ET
 
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Comments

here's a budget 101 lesson. You only have issues like this when there is a lack of policy. Schools and offices should have started the process of building their budget based on need and known policy goals. reducing allocations per school/office should not stop the developmet process.

Posted by: simplewords999 | February 2, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

DCPS is looking for money. Laying off teachers can save the District a lot of money. Three ways to lay of teachers: 1) increase class sizes, and 2) combine grades into one class, and 3) share staff between schools.

For more information about how DCPS tells schools to do this see: http://dc.gov/DCPS/Files/downloads/ABOUT%20DCPS/Budget%20-%20Finance/DCPS-SchoolBudgetGuide-SY2010-2011.pdf

The new Budget Guide for SY2011-2012 has NOT been published yet. The Central Office appears to still be writing it and giving little to no advice to schools and LSATs. With this guide, a proforma budget could be built while waiting for an allocation amount.

Ms. Henderson has said that class sizes will positively increase for next year and for the budget preparation process. Up to 40 kids per classroom (although it was vague as which grade levels would be affected by how much.

Specifically, see here for Ms. Henderson's quotes from Mr. Turque's article:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcschools/2011/01/q_a_with_kaya_henderson.html#more

BT: How will budget cuts play out for students and teachers?

KH: ..We are able to realize savings without it being a shock to the system is by really maximizing the class size. Our class sizes in the district are much smaller than similarly situated districts. We're not even reaching the limits of the WTU contract around class size, which everyone agrees are fine.

BT: There's a point of view that class size is overblown as a determinant of success. Do you agree?

KH: ... I know for sure when you have an excellent teacher in a classroom ... that principals will put additional kids in a classroom, up to 40. And if the teacher can handle those 40 kids they are better served by that one highly effective teacher than splitting that class into two classes of 20 [where] you can't guarantee are both are highly effective teachers.

BT:: So its fair to say that class sizes will increase in some instances to try to effect savings?

KH: Oh, yeah.
-----------------------
So......
-- When will the schools, the LSAT's, the community get the Guide Book?
-- When will we find out what the required class sizes will be?
-- How many teachers will have to be cut?
-- Will Mr. Gray dig up extra money to mediate the budget shortfall?
-- How much time will there be to discuss and collaborate on solutions?
-- Are the Instructional Coaches now optional, as rumored?
-- What will happen to Art,Music,PE,Science,Library with restricted budgets?
-- How will DCPS explain how "fair" their allocations are?
-- Schools under 350 enrollment COST all the other schools budget resources.
-- Why is this all being done behind closed doors?
-- Didn't Mr. Gray say we now have One Collaborative City?

Posted by: zen37 | February 2, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Well make sure that someone monitors McKinley Tech so that David Pinder won't have a chance to steal anymore money. PLEASE

Posted by: Darksecrettt | February 2, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

This plus our "vacation furloughs". My god what a mess Rhee has left us. This has to be painful....teachers get furloughed as some get large IMPACT bonuses. Now that is good management.

Posted by: WorkingT | February 2, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

It was my understanding that the delays were all due to inclement weather...are sources insinuating there's a underlying snow-job being the culprit????

As for holding out...didn't Rhee hold-out until she saw who the winner was????

Posted by: PowerandPride | February 3, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Vacation furloughs? Could you expand on that for the unaware?

Posted by: KH20003 | February 4, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

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