Mayor Bowser attempts to game Council budgetary process
Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, and Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chairperson of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, released the following joint statement in response to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s errata letter on the education portion of the D.C. Fiscal Year 2018 budget:
“Several weeks ago, after months of planning, Mayor Muriel Bowser submitted to the Council her budget for fiscal year 2018. We, along with parents, teachers, students, administrators, and advocates were very disappointed when we received a budget that leaves our schools without the resources to put every child in the best position to succeed.
“Our committees, like all council committees, have examined agency funding levels, historical spending, and will make a determination as to the appropriate spending for fiscal year 2018. We found that the mayor drew up her budget and, like many mayors, built in funds to be used at her discretion, beyond effective Council control.
“Today, she sent the Council an errata letter, usually meant to fix minor mistakes in the submitted budget. However, this letter bears all the hallmarks of an attempt to regain control of those funds. And it irresponsibly claims to have solved the uniform per student funding formula shortfall that the mayor created. In truth, it includes only one-time money.
“Through our oversight of the budget, we have found sources of funds that can be reallocated to provide a more sustainable solution to investing in our students’ futures by providing recurring, not one-time, dollars to increase the uniform per student funding formula over the mayor’s original proposed 1.5 percent. Recurring dollars represent a real commitment to our students, providing year-to-year funding, rather than having to go through this exercise in the next budget cycle.
“The mayor now attempts to defeat that reallocation by saying ‘Oops – we see some errors and want to correct them.’
“The public is ill-served by the mayor’s political gamesmanship which lacks transparency and is contrary to the system of checks and balances. The mayor proposes, the Council disposes. And that’s exactly what we, working with our colleagues, intend to do, regardless of today’s letter.”