DCPS Budget Process

What is the DCPS Budget Process, and How Does that Affect PTO Budget and Fundraising?

Shepherd’s school budget is the result of a year-long iterative process that begins with the Chancellor hosting a public hearing to announce DCPS’s budget priorities for the coming school year. It is also combined with extensive community input from both city-wide and through feedback from individual school LSATs & Principals.

DCPS budget models are designed to be flexible to reflect each school’s unique budget requirements. No two schools serve the exact same population. Even if schools have the same number of students, a variety of factors affect the allocation from which a school can build its budget. Schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods receive additional funding based on the needs of the student populations that they serve. This includes the addition of DCPS supplemental funding for the lowest 40 performing schools, At-Risk funding money, as well as Federal Title I and Title II funding that is designed to supplement the base funding that DCPS provides for every child. Indeed, this process is a reflection that some school communities within our city are in need of much greater financial support than others.

DCPS uses a model to allocate staff and funds called the Comprehensive Staffing Model (CSM). It accounts for the following when calculating initial budget allocations each year:


What is the DCPS Budget Process, and How Does that Affect PTO Budget and Fundraising?

  • Projected student enrollment

  • Special education student population

  • English Language Learner (ELL) student population

  • Free and Reduced-Price Meals eligible students

  • School Configuration (ES, K-8 or 6-12 model, MS or HS)

  • Teacher-to-student ratios by grade configurations

  • Specialty school status

  • Non-Personnel Spending (NPS)

  • Per-Pupil funding minimum

In addition, other DCPS citywide initiatives require minimum staffing requirements for particular DCPS initiatives, for example the addition of mandatory World Language instruction at the elementary level. Based on the projected enrollment in the different grades, this impacts the number of teachers and teaching aides that are allocated funding. In addition, the number of children that have special education needs, ELL needs etc. reflect school support positions that are funded by DCPS. The school is also allocated positions to provide administrative and custodial support for the school. However, on some of these budget items a DCPS Principal has significant discretion in how he/she can target funds to the unique needs of a school.