Grosso Budget Victories
As chairperson of the Committee on Education, Councilmember Grosso’s number one priority during the budget process was ensuring that our schools have the resources they need to improve learning for all residents across the District of Columbia.
The Council largely endorsed the work of the Committee on Education that increased per student funding, invested in early childhood learning, and improved the resources of our public libraries, while also accelerating modernizations for many schools to provide a better learning environment.
Highlights of the education budget include:
- An increase in the uniform per student funding formula of 3.0%, doubling the mayor’s proposed 1.5% increase, with a special thanks to Councilmembers Cheh, Gray, and Chairman Mendelson in particular for making that possible.
- Investing in the successful early literacy intervention program that gets students at or above reading level by third grade.
- Accelerating the modernization of schools, including West Education Campus, Jefferson Middle, Eaton Elementary, Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, School Within a School at Goding, and planning for the now-vacant Shaw Middle School.
- A commitment to alternative approaches to school discipline with an enhancement in the Restorative Justice program funding.
- Additional investment in the Community Schools program to improve student outcomes.
- Funding to set up the Office and Commission of Out Of School Time Grants, which was established in legislation introduced by Councilmember Grosso.
- Enhancing the learning opportunities of all D.C. residents with investment in expanding D.C. Public Libraries’ collections.
- Preserving local history with ongoing funding for the D.C. Public Libraries’ D.C. Oral History Project, through partnerships with D.C. Historical Society, and Humanities D.C.
In addition to his work on the Education Committee, Councilmember Grosso secured or supported changes to the budget in other areas.
Judiciary and Public Safety
- Commit D.C. to a new approach to public safety by investing in the NEAR Act which the Council passed unanimously last year.
- Funded a grant for organizations working with incarcerated young adults utilizing literacy-based interventions to improve their success while incarcerated and upon transition back to the community.
- Supported a rate increase for behavioral health providers.
- Increased funding for in-home delivery programs for D.C. residents living with chronic health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and diabetes.
- Supported Councilmember Nadeau’s changes to strengthen Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for District residents by reducing penalties and eliminating time limits.
- Supported further investment toward meeting the goals of the Homeward D.C. plan to end homelessness, and implementing the new plan on youth homelessness.
- Supported additional funding to the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) Rapid Housing program to help youth emancipating from and aging out of foster care achieve housing stability.
- Supported strong investment for the Housing Preservation Fund to preserve affordable housing units across the city.
- Supported reducing the waiting list for tenant-based Local Rent Supplement Program vouchers with the allocation of the additional funds.
- Funding for Grosso’s First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit to lower the barrier to home ownership in the District of Columbia.
Business and Economic Development
- With monies provided by the Committee on Education, funded a study of the feasibility of establishing a public bank in D.C.
- Supported the inclusion of a study of certified business enterprises’ capacity to better understand why so many waivers are granted in government-assisted projects.
Labor and Workforce
- Supported investment for adult transit subsidies for adult learners, removing a barrier to educational attainment for non-traditional students. Grosso appreciates Councilmember Silverman's efforts on this issue.
Committee of the Whole
- Supported funding to establish the administrative infrastructure for paid family leave, which will provide a competitive advantage to businesses and relieve families of the difficult choice between paying their bills and caring for their loved ones.
Transportation and the Environment
- Supported allocation of funds to the Department of Health to waive the fee for birth certificates for D.C. residents experiencing homelessness.
- Working with Councilmembers Evans and Cheh, included language to qualify rooftop farms for tax incentives.