The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

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The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Changes in school budget will impact students and staff

Jackson-Reed’s initial budget allocation for the 2024-25 school year increased 3 percent to $29.5 million but falls over $2 million short of supporting the current school arrangement. 

According to Principal Sah Brown, the budget reflects a reduction of eight full-time and one part-time teaching positions. 

Although the face value has gone up, the COVID-19 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief supplemental funds that were initially dispersed in the 2019-20 school year have expired after three years.

However, Brown said, “I do believe that the budget is sufficient” to support the JR student body.

The DCPS budget allocation process is based on a multitude of factors, the most important being estimated student enrollment. This estimate is calculated based upon the expected number of students by grade, which is based on enrollment trends and happenings of the years prior. Projecting 1,932 students, the student based funds for JR total $14.6 million. 

“One of the things that [Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) members] wanted to communicate to Brown was that while our enrollment was reducing, we should also be taking this as an opportunity to rightsize our class sizes,” LSAT staff member and social studies teacher Patrick Cassidy said. “Our contract [details a maximum of] 25 students per class outside outstanding circumstances, but the number at Jackson-Reed is [evidently much higher].” 

Currently, the school reports 1,995 enrolled students, whereas the building’s capacity stands at about 1,704.

Initial funding is then released to school principals. Based upon that number, meetings with the LSAT and staff can assist the principal in deciding how to utilize the hypothetical budget. These meetings allow for DCPS to receive feedback on how the funds would be used through a leveled ranking system.

LSAT chair Melody Molinoff said that Brown took into account community feedback into his initial revision of the budget allocation. “LSAT members [then] worked collaboratively to analyze data on class sizes by subject area and identify priority content areas. We then shared the priorities with Brown,” Molinoff said.

Brown said that the pay for teachers has gone up in an agreement with the Washington Teachers’ Union. “The renegotiated contract for our teachers and administrators came with additional compensation, so the cost of teacher and administrative positions increased,” Brown said. “This year, although we’ll have fewer general education teachers, 36% of the money is going towards that category because we’re intentional about ensuring that we’re investing, spending, and prioritizing our dollars towards our teaching staff. This represents a 2% increase in that area.”

“Only one new teacher position was added: a health/physical education teacher to reduce the class sizes and to help build out the Athletic Achievement Academy,” Molinoff said. In addition, Brown indicated that one Teacher Leader for Special Education will be opening.

The finalized budget will likely be available in early May, with the impacts of it being seen in the beginning of the 2024-25 school year in August.

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About the Contributor
Dani Wallace, Features Editor
Dani is one of the Beacon’s superb Section Copy Editors. She prides herself in her ability to always get the contact to quote check and finding the next best topic to write about. If she’s not doing her Beacon duties, she’s probably playing volleyball somewhere, using something that may or may not be an actual ball.
  • 2022-23: Section Copy Editor
  • 2023-24: Features Editor
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