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Utilization of Public School Facilities

Utilization is a measurement of how full a facility is to meet educational programmatic needs. Utilization is calculated as the number of enrolled students over the programmatic capacity of the school facility. School districts providing neighborhood schools (or "schools of right") often aim for optimal utilization of between 80% to 95%.

In SY20-21, the average total public school utilization was 76%, which is a decrease from years prior due to a school year affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Similarly by sector, DCPS and public charter school utilizations decreased slightly this year to 72% and 81%, respectively (which includes schools that have not enrolled their full intended grade spans and excludes colocated schools). The average utilization rate across all wards also decreased in SY20-21.

Even with the pandemic and the its negative impact on enrollment in SY20-21, some neighborhoods with DCPS facilities still exceeded 100% utilization. These include Near Southeast/Navy Yard (Cluster 27), Cleveland Park/Woodley Park (Cluster 15), Chevy Chase (Cluster 10), West End/Foggy Bottom (Cluster 5), and Historic Anacostia (Cluster 28). Public charter schools can manage their enrollment (as they do not operate as schools of right), so only one nieghborhood cluster had an average public charter utilization over 100% in SY20-21, Historic Anacostia (Cluster 28).

Public School Facility Utilization, SY13-14 to SY20-21

New STAR Rating filter available below

The state-level accountability system, the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework, is designed to provide schools with multiple pathways to demonstrate their performance and success. Depending on the specific grade configuration of a school, the STAR framework includes a list of metrics representing academic performance, academic growth, school environment, English language proficiency, graduation rates (for high schools and alternative schools), and educational progress (for alternative schools). Each school is provided an overall star rating, with one STAR being the lowest and five the highest. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the most recent STAR data are from SY18-19; STAR ratings were paused for SY19-20 and SY20-21.

For both DCPS and public charter schools, utilization in SY18-19 was greatest in public school facilities with 5 STAR and 4 STAR rated schools, as well as “multi-STAR” facilities. For DCPS facilities, utilization declined as the STAR rating of schools in the facility also went down. For public charter school facilities, this was also true, with the exception of facilities with 1 STAR rated schools, which saw a utilization rate of 86%, higher than the utilization rate for facilities with either 2 STAR rated schools or 3 STAR rated schools.

Public School Facility Utilization by STAR, SY17-18 to SY18-19

Notes: 
- Facility information is as recent as SY20-21. 
- The interactive dashboard can be viewed with and without DCPS portables (or temporary classrooms). 
- Schools that are growing (i.e. growing a grade each year) can be excluded from the analysis, since it may not provide an 
  accurate representation of their facility utilization. 
- Capacity and enrollment is for the entire facility, not only for the grade bands selected. See the downloadable dataset 
  for more information on which schools fall under each grade band. 
- Capacities for DCPS schools that are swinging due to modernization are not reported. 
- STAR ratings are as recent as of SY18-19 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; therefore, the facility data for these graphics are also only as recent as SY18-19.
- Facilities that are “multi-STAR” are facilities that have multiple schools in a facility with different STAR ratings. 
  Facilities with no STAR rating include schools that did not receive a rating because they were either a new school, 
  had a particular grade configuration that is not rated, or their enrollment was too small. 

Source: OSSE Audited Enrollment, SY13-14 to SY20-21, DCPS and public charter LEA capacities (collected by DC PCSB)

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