The Lafayette Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) has held a series of meetings with Dr. B regarding next year’s budget over the past few weeks. This budget is the amount allotted to the school by District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), and it is separate from the Lafayette Home and School Association (HSA) budget raised by families each year.
There have been a few changes in our DCPS allocation over the past several weeks based on conversations with the district, which is due to some of the budget challenges facing schools this year. However, we are grateful to have been able to secure several of our key positions to support students at the end of the process, while disappointed to have to make a partial reduction in our Spanish programming (from 2 full time positions to 1.5 positions).
As many of you know, our enrollment is projected for two Pre-K classes for next year given space constraints within the school. We are hoping in the future to be able to build back our Pre-K program, as space and budget permits. In the budget process this year, the majority of our committee ultimately felt it wise to prioritize ensuring space and best-practice class sizes for students in our compulsory grades for FY21-22, given the constraints on our budget and space. This was particularly important given that the pandemic’s impact on our Fall spacing needs is not yet clear. We remain committed to a strong Pre-K program and will work with the school and partners on this. The Lafayette LSAT’s statement on the budget to the DCPS budget team is below, as are the notes from our meetings throughout the budget process.
Lafayette Statement to DCPS Budget Team
The Lafayette LSAT would like to thank DCPS for providing us with a budget that allows every student at Lafayette to succeed – especially given the fact that the District of Columbia faced a budget shortfall because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The LSAT would like to specifically thank budget assistance for providing Lafayette with an instructional coach in math and a part-time reading specialist. We would also like to thank the Mental Health Team for correcting our Social Worker allocation. Finally, we are thankful that the School Funding Team increased our initial ELL allocation to match our enrollment of ELL students. The LSAT had substantial engagement throughout the budget process.
Our PK4 enrollment decreased this year due to anticipated needs for general education classrooms. Although there was discussion of trying to advocate DCPS to retain our current enrollment of 4 classrooms, LSAT has determined it is wise to ensure that Kindergarten and 1st grade students (compulsory grades) have the space necessary to expand should enrollment increase as in past years, particularly as the pandemic persists and space is critical to re-opening next year.
Due to budget constraints, the LSAT cut Spanish from 2 full time positions to 1.5 positions. We are disappointed with the cut but had to make this choice due to budget constraints. We would also like to note that the LSAT and Dr. Broquard have been advocating for several years that the current comprehensive staffing model (CSP) does not serve the needs of larger schools like Lafayette. As you know, the tiered CSP model tops out at 600 students, such that schools with 600+ students are allocated funding at the same level as a school with 600 students. Our student population is over 900 students and will increase in SY21-22 to almost 950 students, almost 58% more than a school with 600 students. As we saw from our initial budget allocation this year, the CSP simply does not work when schools are that much larger than the largest allocation band. We have been creative with our budgets over the last several years as we have grown as a school and pride ourselves on continuing to meet DCPS strategic goals, including social-emotional learning, but it is increasingly difficult, if not impossible to do this, if the CSP is not updated. We had to make the cut in Spanish because of this problem. We encourage DCPS to work with the Lafayette LSAT and Dr. Broquard if it moves to develop a new allocation model. We invite you to meet with us and use us as a resource and “test case” to ensure that a new model works for all DCPS schools, including large elementary schools like Lafayette.
DCPS should consider providing Schools and Community Stakeholders more time if they would like substantive feedback on the annual budget – especially since Lafayette often faces very difficult decisions such as choosing which programs to cut or eliminate. We, as an LSAT, did our best to adequately engage the community on preferences and needs – but, would have liked to have done better.
Link to LSAT meetings on the budget (Feb. 24, March 1, 3, and 4)
Lastly, DCPS needs your insight into your family’s current school experience. If you haven’t already done so, please share your feedback in the district’s annual Panorama Survey.
Your responses matter and have an impact on the evaluation of programs, services, and overall school needs and improvements. Help Lafayette reach our family submission goal and ensure your voice is heard.
Questions? Contact Ms. Mosby, school counselor.