Federal

Boost in U.S. Aid Proposed for Schools in Washington

By Alyson Klein — February 19, 2008 3 min read

The White House is seeking a substantial jump in federal aid for the District of Columbia public schools—a proposal that the Bush administration is characterizing as a new level of partnership with local officials in the nation’s capital.

President Bush’s $74 million request for K-12 programs in Washington in fiscal 2009, contained in the administration’s federal budget plan released Feb. 4, includes $20 million in one-time appropriations to bolster student achievement in the 50,000-student school district.

The proposal, which would be an 81 percent increase from the fiscal 2008 level for K-12 education in the city, also seeks extra money for programs that embrace policies the administration has sought to advance nationwide, including charter schools and expanded school choice.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings called the request “an unprecedented partnership” between the Washington city government and the administration. She said the federal Department of Education worked closely with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, and Michelle A. Rhee, the schools chancellor, in crafting the request.

Mayor Fenty assumed greater authority over the school system last June. His first act was to replace Clifford B. Janey, who had led the school district since 2004, with Ms. Rhee, the founder of the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit organization in New York City that places novice teachers in struggling schools. Ms. Rhee, who had never served as a schools superintendent, was considered a surprise, unconventional pick. (“Mayor Takes Control, Picks Novice to Lead Troubled D.C. District,” June 20, 2007.)

Although the District of Columbia has home-rule authority, Congress must approve the budget for the city and its school system, which routinely includes federal aid.

The proposed $20 million in one-time funding includes $3.5 million to recruit and train school leaders, $7 million for school improvement efforts, and $7.5 million for data systems to track student outcomes and provide information about school performance to parents.

Help for Charter Schools

Mr. Bush’s plan also proposes $2 million to support data reporting requirements in the school system’s new performance-pay program. The program gives salary bonuses to teachers, principals, and even custodians at schools that bring all their students to proficiency or achieve significant gains on reading and mathematics assessments.

President Bush’s budget also calls for $18 million for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a private-school-voucher experiment enacted in 2004, or a 21.6 percent increase from fiscal 2008. The money would be used to increase the maximum tuition-voucher amount for high school students from $7,500 to $12,000, and provide annual increases in individual vouchers indexed to inflation. The program serves more than 1,900 students annually in kindergarten through grade 12.

And the proposal would boost spending on charter schools in Washington to $18 million, a 38.5 percent increase from the current level. The request includes $10 million for charter school facilities, and $5 million to replicate high-performing charter schools at new locations in Washington.

The request “shows [the administration’s] policy priorities,” including expanded school choice and charters, said Erika B. Landberg, the program director for D.C. Voice, a non-profit group that advocate for the city’s public schools. But many of the proposals, particularly for training school leaders and tracking student outcomes, “correspond to real need,” financing the “kind of thing that’s hard to pull out of your regular operating budget,” she said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 20, 2008 edition of Education Week as Boost in U.S. Aid Proposed For Schools in Washington

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Lawmakers Press CDC About Teachers' Union Influence on School Reopening Guidance
Republican senators asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky about reports a teachers' union had input on guidance for schools on COVID-19.
3 min read
Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce then-President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Susan Walsh/AP
Federal Biden Taps Ex-Obama Aide Roberto Rodriguez for Key Education Department Job
Rodriguez served as a top education staffer to President Barack Obama and currently leads a teacher-advocacy organization.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Getty
Federal Biden Pitches Plan to Expand Universal Pre-K, Free School Meal Programs, Teacher Training
The president's $1.8 trillion American Families Plan faces strong headwinds as Congress considers other costly administration proposals.
8 min read
President Joe Biden addresses Congress from the House chamber. Behind him are Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., applaud.<br/>
Chip Somodevilla/AP
Federal Education Department Kicks Off Summer Learning Collaborative
The Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative will boost programs for students acutely affected by COVID-19 in 46 states.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, left, talks with Fort LeBoeuf Middle School teacher Laura Friedman during a discussion on safely returning to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic on March 3, 2021.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, left, talks with Fort LeBoeuf Middle School teacher Laura Friedman during a discussion on safely returning to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
Greg Wohlford/Erie Times-News via TNS