Wilson budget set to increase

Nate Belman and Max Karp

DCPS Central Office released the budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. Wilson’s proposed budget included a $1.6 million funding increase, accounting for a projected growth in enrollment by 151 students. The budget is eight percent larger than last year and includes a pledge to bring computers to students in grades four, seven, and ten in the upcoming school year. 

Upon receiving the initial budget, Principal Kimberly Martin requested changes through an online school budget application website and sent a finalized proposal back to DCPS, where it is pending further confirmation.

“This was the best budget process we’ve had,” Martin said. In years prior, DCPS pushed back on her proposed changes to the budget, but this year, most of Martin’s proposals were approved.

Wilson’s budget is set to increase from $20.1 million in FY 2020 to $21.7 million in FY 2021, an increase of 8.17 percent. However, that figure doesn’t reflect the actual increase in available funds to spend, given that most of the increased funding is going toward raises to teacher and administrative salaries, outlined by the Washington Teachers’ Union. Martin’s amended proposal came out to a $136,000 gain in funds. Funding numbers are pre-set by DCPS and can be petitioned by principals.

The increase comes from an uptick in projected enrollment, which is the metric used to determine funding allocation for schools. DCPS is projecting Wilson to have an enrollment of 2,015 students, the highest ever in its history.

Wilson is receiving an additional self-contained special education classroom as a result of the increase in the number of students receiving special education services with more intensive needs at the school.

Wilson is also receiving an increased English Language Learners (ELL) allocation due to the increase in ELL students enrolled at the school. Additionally, over $2.9 million will be allocated to cover 32 special education positions.

Out of all DCPS schools, Wilson received the largest amount of funding. Columbia Heights Educational Campus came in at second with $21.2 million, and Alice Deal Middle School was third at $15.9 million.

The budget also includes $620,000 for security costs and $404,000 for non-personnel flexible funds that can be allocated to anything but staff.