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District of Columbia School Reform Proposal: Authority of the D.C. Council To Implement

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Publication Date: March 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL33912

Topic: Education (School administration)


This report addresses the authority of the District of Columbia Council to implement a proposed reorganization of the District of Columbia Board of Education. Specifically, the report addresses the authority of the Council to implement the proposed District of Columbia Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007, a bill currently being considered by Council. The proposed Act would involve extensive revision of the D.C. Code, including parts of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act. In addition, the report considers to what extent Congress would be required to legislate to implement this reorganization.

It would appear likely that the D.C. Council has sufficient authority to reorganize an independent agency such as the Board of Education, including defining the Board's powers, duties, and responsibilities. However, the Council may not have the necessary budgetary authority to allocate funds to individual schools, nor may it delegate such authority to the mayor. Thus, although it would appear that the Council could engage in significant reorganization of the Board under the proposed bill, congressional implementation would appear to be needed to address the public school budget restrictions provided for under the Home Rule Act.