D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee says the $18.1 million cut in the DCPS budget proposed by Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray would not only threaten plans to bring music, art and PE teachers to every public school in the district, it would give public charter schools an edge in spending per-pupil.
The current per-pupil allocation for both public and public charter schools is $8,770. Transferring the money to fund school modernization efforts, as proposed by Gray, would threaten that parity.
"I don't think it's anyone's intention to do that, especially at a time when we want to make sure we have all the amenities in place so we can compete with the charter schools," Rhee said yesterday evening in front of Anacostia High school after a meeting with parents and staff. "We just want to make sure that we're on equal footing."
School officials said such a cut would threaten the $15 million earmarked by DCPS for art, music and PE, but also another $2 million increase to the student athletics budget. After-school and summer school programs could also take hits, they said.
In a letter sent late yesterday to Gray, Rhee said she had "deep misgivings" about the proposed cuts.
"Given our already considerable efforts to streamline DCPS operations, the proposed $18.1 million cut would have substantially negative impacts directly on classrooms and students," she wrote.