by Marlene Berlin
The DC Council Education Committee’s 2015-2016 budget markup hearing is tomorrow, and the committee is scheduled to vote on the budget this Thursday. So today, Ruth Wattenberg, Ward 3’s State School Board representative, is urging people to contact the committee’s chair, David Grosso, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-724-8105), to ask him to restore funding for Wilson.
Not sure what to say? Wattenberg, at her website ruth4schools.com and in communications with the Ward 3 community, has some suggestions.
1. Oppose the DCPS proposed Wilson budget that has been cut by the equivalent of 10% per student. For the year now ending, official per-student funding is $9,276. The proposal for next year is for $8,312.
2. Restore at least $900,000 to the Wilson budget. This will make up roughly half of the effective per-student funding cut.
3. Oppose DCPS’s proposed remedies – pushing out out-of-bounds students or waiting until school begins this fall to address shortfalls in staffing levels. (For more on this, see ruth4schools.com.)
4. Prevent erosion of parent confidence in Wilson. Parent and neighborhood confidence in Wilson has been growing. This budget cut will erode that confidence – exactly what we don’t want as families consider whether or not to enroll their kids in DCPS or keep them in through high school.
At the Education Committee’s last hearing on the subject on April 28th, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson did not budge in her positions, even under sharp questioning from Council member Mary Cheh. Without support from the executive branch, the Council is Wilson’s last chance for budget changes.