Mayor Gray announced yesterday that one of the most expensive school systems in the country is about to get richer. Mr. Gray wants to increase the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (or as I like to call it the Cane Calculus, after FOCUS's Robert Cane) by two percent going from $9,124 to $9,306 for each pupil taught. This comes on top of the Mayor raising this figure by two percent last year.
In 2012 the U.S. Census calculated that DCPS spends $29,409 per student. And for this amount of taxpayer funding less than half of all students are proficient in math and reading (in 2012 the DCPS math proficiency rate was 49.3 percent, in reading it was 45.6 percent.)
It would be out of this world wonderful if increased revenue for the public school resulted in improved academic results. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth as the graph above indicates.
The charter schools will also benefit from this proposal, which is excellent. The extra money will make up for millions a year allocated to DCPS that these alternative schools do not receive. It would have been nice to get a bump in the facility payment which has not been increased in years after being lowered by the previous Mayor from $3,109 to $2,800 a child (charters now receive $3,000 a student through supplemental funding but this amount is not set in law). The additional dollars may also assist charters in obtaining bank loans for buildings since it improves a school's revenue to debt ratio.
It would, however, be much simplier for the city to do the ethical thing and just hand over the soon to be 25 vacant sites to D.C.'s explosive charter school movement.