The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) has released the Common Financial Reporting Standards (CFRS). DME established these standards pursuant to the School Financial Transparency Amendment Act of 2020 (Subtitle (IV)(F) of the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Support Act of 2020 or the “BSA”) to provide common financial reporting for DC Public Schools’ (DCPS) and DC Public Charter Schools’ budgeted and actual expenditures across a number of categories.
Over the course of the CFRS development period, Afton Partners, DME’s grantee for this project, held 42 meetings with 20 Charter LEAs, DCPS and the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) to help guide decisions on how the reporting should be developed, what it will look like, and identify potential issues that may arise during implementation. Prior to conducting the LEA and other stakeholder meetings, Afton collaborated with DME and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to draft the following value proposition and guiding principles for this work, which informed, along with the LEA meetings, all decisions that are reflected in the CFRS reporting structure and standards.
When published in the DC School Report card, the reporting will:
- Allow schools and stakeholders to readily access and understand resource allocation;
- Empower LEAs and communities to assess and improve equity;
- Lead LEAs and communities toward a better understanding of the relationship between student outcomes and financial resource allocation decisions; and
- Enable LEAs, schools, and the District (DME/OSSE) to identify evidence-based best practices and opportunities and foster innovation for peer-to-peer learning.
The set of principles that guided the work of developing the reporting standards, and laid a foundation for decision-making along the way, included to:
- Allow LEAs to tell their own story, as they are best able to do;
- Share financial data in context and in a digestible way;
- Limit incremental burden for reporting entities; and
- Foster informed decision making and reporting.
In addition to introductory meetings, Afton worked in depth with DCPS and three Charter LEAs of various sizes across the city. These volunteer LEAs provided Afton with a more detailed understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with this reporting initiative, including opportunities to work with LEA-specific data to create draft reporting structures, directly informing the guidance included in the standards document.