Study finds funding gap between D.C. specialty and neighborhood schools

Bill Turque:

The two public high schools, 21/2 miles apart in Northwest Washington, serve vastly different student populations. And they do it with vastly different levels of financial support, according to an analysis of school spending by a District advocacy group.
School Without Walls accepts only the city’s most accomplished students after a competitive application process that requires interviews with prospective parents as well. More than 700 students are vying for 120 spots in next year’s ninth-grade class. Those who are admitted will attend classes in a freshly renovated vintage building on the George Washington University campus. District funds per student: $10,257.
Cardozo, near 13th Street and Florida Avenue, is a neighborhood high school that takes all comers in an attendance area that includes about a dozen group homes and homeless shelters. Parole officers and social workers are sometimes the only adults who appear at the school on students’ behalf. The wiring in the cavernous 1916 building was so bad a couple of years ago that when all of the computers were turned on, power in half of the school would go out, said Principal Gwendolyn Grant.
District funds per student: $7,453.

Locally, the Madison School District’s 2010-2011 budget, according to the “State of the Madison School District Report” is $379,058,945. Enrollment is 24,471 which yields per student spending of $15,490.12.