Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2901. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Adult education” means services or instruction below the college level for adults who:

(A) Lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable them to function effectively in society;

(B) Do not have a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education and who have not achieved an equivalent level of education; or

(C) Have limited ability in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language and whose native language is a language other than English.

(1A) “Allowable special education costs” means costs incurred for the following purposes:

(A) Instruction, salaries, benefits, supplies, textbooks, and other expenses, including:

(i) The cost of salaries and benefits of special education program teachers, regular program teachers, and teacher aides, allocated to the corresponding working time that each person devotes to special education, including services required by an individualized education program;

(ii) Teaching supplies and textbooks for special education programs;

(iii) The purchase, rental, repair, and maintenance of instructional equipment required to implement a student’s individualized education program;

(iv) Professional development activities for teachers who work with, or provide services to, students with disabilities;

(v) Contracted services, including fees paid for professional services, advice, and consultation regarding children with disabilities under the IDEA, and the delivery of special education services by public or private entities; and

(vi) Transportation costs for special education instructional personnel who travel on an itinerant basis from school to school or to in-state and out-of-state individualized education program meetings;

(B) Related services as defined in 34 CFR § 300.34 and supplementary aids and services as defined in 34 CFR § 300.42 and also including the following:

(i) Salaries and benefits of professional supportive personnel, corresponding to the working time that each person devotes to implementing services required pursuant to an individualized education program (“IEP”) as defined in 34 CFR § 300.22.

(ii) Salaries and benefits of clerical personnel who assist professional personnel in supportive services, corresponding to the working time that each person devotes to special education services or program;

(iii) Supplies for related services and supplementary aids and services;

(iv) Contracted services, including fees paid for professional advice and consultation regarding children with disabilities under the IDEA or related services and supplementary aids and services, and the delivery of such services by public or private agencies;

(v) Transportation for special education-related services personnel and providers of supplementary aides who travel from school to school or to in-state and out-of-state individualized education program meetings; and

(vi) Equipment purchase, rental, repair, and maintenance required to implement related services and supplementary aids and services as required by a student’s individualized education program;

(C) Administrative expenses related to the direct implementation of IDEA Part B programmatic and fiscal requirements within the public school, including:

(i) Salaries and benefits of staff who ensure programmatic and fiscal requirements of IDEA are being implemented, corresponding to the working time that each person devotes to the implementation of IDEA;

(ii) Contracted services, including fees paid for professional services, advice, and consultation regarding the implementation of IDEA, and the delivery of special education services to students with IEPs by public or private entities;

(D) Assistive technology devices for students with IEPs, not including medical devices surgically implanted (i.e., cochlear implant);

(E) Implementation of due process hearing decisions;

(F) Implementation of compensatory education plans;

(G) Implementation of coordinated early intervening services programs (CEIS) as defined in 34 CFR § 300.226; and

(H) Transition of a student back into public schools in the District who, as a result of an IEP decision or due process hearing decision, is currently attending non-public schools.

(1B) “Alternative program” means specialized instruction for students under court supervision or who have a history of being on short- or long-term suspension or who have been expelled from school, or who meet other criteria as defined by the State Education Office through rulemaking. To qualify as an alternative program, a school must meet the criteria and rules set by the State Education Office. An alternative program may describe an entire school or a specialized program within a school.

(2) Repealed.

(2A) “At-risk” means a DCPS student or a public charter school student who is identified as one or more of the following:

(A) Homeless;

(B) In the District’s foster care system;

(C) Qualifies for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; or

(D) A high school student that is one year older, or more, than the expected age for the grade in which the student is enrolled.

(2B) “Central administration” means the functions necessary for the governance of a school district as a whole, including general oversight and management of support services such as procurement, human resources, and financial administration. The term “central administration” does not include any functions that are:

(A) Budgeted at the individual school level; or

(B) Budgeted centrally and which support costs associated with programs and services provided at the school level or directly to students.

(3) “Consumer Price Index” (“CPI”) means the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for Washington, DC-MD-VA, Index Base Period 1982-84 or its successor, as issued by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(4) “District of Columbia Public Schools” (“DCPS”) means the public local education system under the control of the Board of Education or of the Emergency Transitional Education Board of Trustees in its function. The term does not include Public Charter Schools.

(5) “Foundation” or “foundation level” means the amount of funding per weighted student needed to provide adequate regular education services to students. Regular education services do not include special education, language minority education, summer school, capital costs, state education agency functions or services funded through federal and other non-appropriated revenue sources.

(6) “Full-time equivalent” means student enrollment the equal of:

(A) Five hours or more per school day for a minimum of 180 school days for students enrolled in grades pre-school through 12; or

(B) Three hours per day for a minimum of 4 days per week for 36 weeks per school year for adult enrollment.

(6A) “Intensive Program of Special Education Services” means specialized special education services of at least 30 hours per student per week for students with one or more disabling conditions in a self-contained setting during regular school hours.

(7) “Limited English Proficient/Non-English Proficient” (“LEP/NEP”) means students identified in accordance with federal law as entitled to English as a second language or bilingual services on the basis of their English language proficiency.

(8) “Per student funding formula” (“Formula”) means the formula used to determine annual operating funding for DCPS and Public Charter Schools on a uniform per student basis, pursuant to § 38-1804.01.

(9) “Public Charter School” means a publicly funded school established pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 18 of this title; and except as provided in §§ 38-1802.12(d)(5) and 38-1802.13(c)(5), is not a part of the DCPS.

(10) “Residential school” means a DCPS or Public Charter School that provides students with room and board in a residential setting, in addition to their instructional program.

(10A) “Resident student” means a minor enrolled in a District of Columbia public school or public charter school who has a parent, guardian, or custodian residing in the District of Columbia or an adult enrolled in a District of Columbia public school or a public charter school who resides in the District of Columbia as determined pursuant to Chapter 3 of this title [§ 38-302 et seq.].

(10B) “Self-Contained (Dedicated) Special Education School” means a school that has the capacity to provide all the facilities and services needed to meet the educational and therapeutic needs of its students, which may share a campus or only a building with a general education school.

(11) “Special education” means specialized services for students identified as having disabilities, as provided in section 101(a)(1) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, approved April 13, 1970 (84 Stat. 175; 20 U.S.C. § 1401(a)(1)), or students who are individuals with a disability as provided in section 7(8) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, approved September 26, 1973 (87 Stat. 359; 29 U.S.C. § 706(8)).

(11A) “Special Education Capacity Fund” means funds provided to public schools through the Formula to support activities required to improve the quality of special education programming available to students and to ensure that all personnel necessary to carry out Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) pursuant to 34 CFR § 300.207, are appropriately and adequately prepared, subject to the requirements of 34 CFR § 300.156 related to personnel qualifications for teachers, related service providers, and paraprofessionals.

(11B) “Special Education Compliance Fund” means funds provided to public schools through the “Formula” to support activities required to address identified noncompliance with federal and local laws and regulations regarding the provision of special education services to students with disabilities.

(11C) “Special Education Payment” means funding appropriated by the District through the “Formula” in the following budget categories: Special education schools, Special Education Add-ons, Special Education Capacity Fund, Special Education Compliance Fund, Residential Add-ons for Special Education, and Special Education Add-ons for Students with Extended School Year (“ESY”) Indicated in Their Individualized Education Programs.

(11D) “Special Education School” means a separate DCPS or public charter day school or residential school dedicated exclusively to serving special education students at levels 4 or 5.

(12) “State level costs” means costs incurred by the DCPS in its function as a state education agency, including the census of minors pursuant to § 38-204, impact aid surveys, issuance of work permits, conduct of hearings and appeals, employee certification, administration of federal aid to agencies or institutions outside of the DCPS or Public Charter Schools administration. For purposes of the Formula, transportation of students with disabilities and payment of tuition for private placements of children with disabilities are considered state level costs.

(13) “Summer school” means an accelerated instructional program provided outside the regular school year of 180 days for students in targeted grades or grade spans pursuant to promotion policies of the District of Columbia Public Schools and public charter schools.

(14) “Weighting” is a multiplication factor applied to the foundation cost for student counts in certain grade levels or special needs programs to account for differences in the cost of educating these students.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-207, § 102, 45 DCR 8095; Oct. 1, 2002, D.C. Law 14-190, § 3402(a), 49 DCR 6968; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-348, § 101(a), 52 DCR 1991; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-192, § 4002(a), 53 DCR 6899; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 57(a), 53 DCR 6198; Sept. 18, 2007, D.C. Law 17-20,§ 4002(a), 54 DCR 7052; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 4003(a), 58 DCR 6226; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-87, § 4(a), 61 DCR 309; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 4012, 61 DCR 9990.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-2901.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-1804.01, § 38-2601.02, § 38-2652, § 38-2831, and § 38-2905.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-190 added par. (11A).

D.C. Law 15-348 added par. (10A).

D.C. Law 16-192 added par. (1A); repealed par. (2); and rewrote pars. (6) and (13).

D.C. Law 16-305, in par. (12), substituted “students with disabilities” for “handicapped students” and “children with disabilities” for “handicapped children”.

D.C. Law 17-20 added pars. (6A) and (10B).

D.C. Law 19-21 redesignated par. (1A) as (1B) and par. (11A) as (11D); and added pars. (1A) and (11A) to (11C).

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-87 added (2A) and (2B).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 rewrote (1B).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) requirement that each public charter school that received Fiscal-Year-2017-based uniform per student funding formula payments shall receive certain payment in Fiscal Year 2018, see § 203 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-163, Oct. 23, 2017, 64 DCR 10778).

For temporary addition of chapter, see §§ 2-15 of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools Second Emergency Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-392, July 17, 1998, 45 DCR 6433), and §§ 2-15 of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-15, February 10,

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4012 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4012 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4012 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) provision regarding payments to public charter schools, see § 204 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 22-44, Jan. 25, 2018, 64 DCR 12387).

Section 2(a) of D.C. Laws 13-427 added paragraph 10A to read as follows:

Section 6(b) of D.C. Laws 13-427 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(a) of D.C. Law 13-262 added (11A) to read as follows:

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 13-262 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(a) of D.C. Law 14-6 added a new par. (11A) to read as follows:

“(11A) ‘Special education school’ means a specialized instructional program for students with disabilities as described in paragraph (11) of this section whose individual education plan calls for full-time placement in special education services.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 14-6 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(a) of D.C. Law 14-38 added a new paragraph (10A) to read as follows:

“(10A) ‘Resident student’ means a student who is enrolled in a District of Columbia public school or a public charter school, and is an adult who resides in the District of Columbia, or is a minor who has a parent, guardian, or custodian residing in the District of Columbia.”.

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 14-38 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(a) of D.C. Law 15-67 added par. (10A) to read as follows:

“(10A) ‘Resident student’ means a minor enrolled in a District of Columbia public school or public charter school who has a parent, guardian, or custodian residing in the District of Columbia or an adult enrolled in a District of Columbia public school or a public charter school who resides in the District of Columbia.”

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 15-67 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2 of D.C. Law 12-180 enacted §§ 31-2901 through 31-2912, comprising Chapter 29 of Title 31 1981 Ed. .

Section 18(b) of D.C. Law 12-180 provided that this act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Short Title

Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools Act: D.C. Law 12-207 provided that this chapter may be cited as the “Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools Act of 1998.”

Short title of subtitle A of title XXXIV of Law 14-190: Section 3401 of D.C. Law 14-190 provided that subtitle A of title XXXIV of the act may be cited as the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public School and Public Charter Schools Amendment Act of 2002.

Short title: Section 4001 of D.C. Law 16-192 provided that subtitle A of title IV of the act may be cited as the “Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools Amendment Act of 2006”.

Short title: Section 4001 of D.C. Law 17-20 provided that subtitle A of title IV of the act may be cited as the “Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools Amendment Act of 2007”.