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OSSE

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FY2020 Budget Oversight Questions and Responses

Councilmember Grosso, as chairperson of the Committee on Education, has received responses to his pre-hearing budget oversight questions from D.C. Public Schools, the Public Charter School Board, D.C. Public Library, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education, the Deputy Mayor for Education, the State Board of Education, The Office of the Student Advocate, and the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education.

You can find the Committee's questions and agencies responses here.

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FY2018 Performance Oversight Questions and Responses

Councilmember Grosso, as chairperson of the Committee on Education, has received responses to his pre-hearing performance oversight questions from D.C. Public Schools, the Public Charter School Board, D.C. Public Library, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education, the Deputy Mayor for Education, the State Board of Education, The Office of the Student Advocate, and the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education.

You can find the Committee's questions and agencies responses here.

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Statement of Councilmember Grosso on the reappointment of Hanseul Kang as Superintendent of Education

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2019
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.286.1987 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Statement of Councilmember Grosso on the reappointment of Hanseul Kang as Superintendent of Education

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso, chairperson of the Committee on Education, released the following statement following the announcement by Mayor Muriel Bowser that she intends to re-appoint Hanseul Kang as the State Superintendent of Education:

“In my time working with Superintendent Kang, I have appreciated her depth of knowledge, candor, and responsiveness. Under her leadership, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education has undergone marked improvement in both action and reputation. I support the mayor’s decision to re-appoint Superintendent Kang and I look forward to continuing to work with her to improve educational outcomes for our students across the District.”

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Grosso sends Education agencies pre-hearing FY18 performance oversight questions

Councilmember Grosso, as chairperson of the Committee on Education, today sent to the agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction the pre-hearing questions for the annual performance oversight process, covering fiscal year 2018. find the questions posed to each agency at the links below:

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State Education Agency Independence Amendment Act of 2018

State Education Agency Independence Amendment Act of 2018

Introduced: September 18, 2018

Co-introducers: Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Robert White, and Brianne K. Nadeau.

BILL TEXT | PRESS RELEASE

Summary: To amend the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000 to establish the Office of the State Superintendent of Education as an independent agency and to amend the State Superintendent of Education’s term from 4 to 6 years.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Thank you, Chairman Mendelson.

Today I am introducing the State Education Agency Independence Act of 2018, along with Chairman Mendelson, and Councilmembers Nadeau and Bonds

For the past few months I have engaged with community members about what the next steps to improving our education system are.

Many have expressed a desire to see more independent oversight of both traditional public and public charter schools that puts our students’ education above political victories.

The District has seen growth in education outcomes over the past 10 years because we have learned from what has been working and made gradual adjustments. This Bill is a continuation of those adjustments.

The State Education Agency has a number of responsibilities that require a more intentional level of autonomy and independence from politics than what is currently in place. By removing OSSE from the Office of the Mayor, extending the term of the State Superintendent, and only allowing for the removal of the State Superintendent but for cause, the State Superintendent would have the autonomy to hold all LEAs accountable without the consideration of what is politically best for the executive or any political entity.

The provisions contained in my legislation are necessary to move us to a more impartial education agency in the District of Columbia. 

This legislation amends the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000 to establish the Office of the State Superintendent of Education as an independent agency and amend the State Superintendent’s term from 4 years to 6 years.

This legislation will not stop scandals.  It will however ensure that the public can trust as objective and impartial the work of OSSE and the Superintendent when they investigate issues that arise.

I look forward to the discussion spurred by this bill and would welcome any of my colleagues to cosponsor this bill.

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Education Committee continues work on outstanding education concerns over Council’s summer recess

For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.286.1987 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Education Committee continues work on outstanding education concerns over Council’s summer recess

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, about the Committee’s work focus over the Council’s summer recess:

“Over the past eight months I have held several hearings, roundtables, town halls, and public engagement sessions focused on the challenges the District of Columbia faces in preparing our students for college, career, and life, but also with the structure of our education system. I believe we have made significant progress on several fronts, including a budget that invests in greater academic and non-academic supports for our students, keeps students in school by reducing exclusionary discipline, provides unprecedented funding for equitable out-of-school time programming, and requires additional transparency in how schools expend public dollars.

“There is still much more we must accomplish. Over the summer, my staff and I are working diligently so that we can address concerns that have been voiced over the first half of this year and continue putting students in the best position to succeed once the Council returns in the middle of September.

“One area of agreement I have gleaned from community conversations is the need for a more independent Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Over the summer, I will engage students, parents, educators, my colleagues, the community, and policy experts on how best to empower our state education agency and reduce the influence of politics on its work. I anticipate introducing legislation on this matter in the fall.

“I will continue meeting with OSSE, DCPS, and the Public Charter School Board, and the interim Deputy Mayor for Education, to monitor final graduation rates for school year 2017-2018, and the implementation of the corrective action plan to ensure we are graduating and promoting students who have met their academic requirements and are prepared for the next step on their academic or workforce journey in 2019.

“My staff is also conducting research and benchmarking policy proposals to create greater cross-sector budget transparency, provide adequate special education supports, promote school attendance through improved safe passage and transportation options, and improve school safety.

“Finally, as the mayor’s Chancellor search committee and Office of Talent and Appointments identify nominees to fill the vacuum of executive education leadership in the city, I will lay out a public engagement process to solicit the feedback of education stakeholders, especially teachers, in the confirmation of permanent Deputy Mayor for Education and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor.

“I invite the public to contact my office with their thoughts on any of these issues and encourage youth and the community to attend the four remaining Summer Education Town Halls I am holding across the city. Your continued engagement is integral to our students’ success.”

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Grosso names Akeem Anderson as new Education Committee director

For Immediate Release:
July 10, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Grosso names Akeem Anderson as new Education Committee director

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, appointed Akeem Anderson the new director of the Committee on Education, effective June 25, 2018.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Akeem to Team Grosso as our new committee director and have been impressed with the enthusiasm he has shown in just a few short weeks on the job,” said Grosso of the appointment. “Akeem comes to the committee at a turbulent time for public education in the District of Columbia, but I have no doubt that his experience, professionalism, and passion will serve the committee’s integral oversight role and innovative policy development well as we continue the work to put every D.C. child in the best position to succeed.”

“I look forward to bringing my experiences both in the classroom and at DCPS to the Committee on Education and Councilmember Grosso’s work as chairperson to continue building on the successes in the D.C. education sector over the last 10 years with a particular focus on continuing to support the development of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, closing the achievement gap, and ensuring equity in supports and resources across the District,” said Anderson.

Prior to his appointment, Anderson served two and a half years at D.C. Public Schools as a Continuous Improvements Specialist in the Office of School Design and Continuous Improvements. There he worked with school leaders in DCPS to identify trends in student performance data, used those trends to craft school plans, and tracked success throughout the school year. Before that, Anderson worked with schools in crafting and monitoring their school turnaround plans and also co-managed the District's Empowering Males of Color Grant—16 grants that cover 22 schools aimed at increasing academic and socio-emotional outcomes for Black and Latino boys in DCPS.

A 2008 Greater New Orleans TFA Corps Member, Anderson taught in New Orleans schools for two years before working for TFA-New Orleans as a Manager Corps and Partner Relations. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from Mercer University.

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Statement of Councilmember David Grosso on unlicensed educators in D.C. Public Schools

For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Statement of Councilmember David Grosso on unlicensed educators in D.C. Public Schools

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, on the news reports regarding unlicensed D.C. Public Schools staff:

“I am again frustrated with D.C. Public Schools over this most recent failure to properly follow established laws and regulations.  These licensing requirements were put in place to ensure that our students are safe and that we have quality educators in our schools. I applaud OSSE for continuing to hold DCPS to account and working with the central office to certify that educators have the proper and up-to-date licensure for the 2018-19 school year.

“However, there remains a greater question about whether we have the appropriate requirements in place for all school staff in both our traditional public and public charter schools.  The Committee on Education will be focused on that question over the summer as part of its work to improve school safety and will hold hearings on this matter once the Council returns from its recess in September.”

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Statement of Councilmember David Grosso on the separation of immigrant families by the Trump Administration

For Immediate Release:
June 15, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Statement of Councilmember David Grosso on the separation of immigrant families by the Trump Administration

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), on the separation of immigrant families by the Trump Administration:

"In recent days, I have been heartbroken by the news reports, videos, and images of families torn apart and caged by the Trump Administration in their callous enforcement of immigration laws. These camps harken back to World War II-era Japanese internment camps, one of the most shameful times in U.S. history and are no different than the ICE raids we saw last year in the District of Columbia. They have one intent: to instill fear into our communities and neighbors. Since he took office, the president has utilized fear to meet his political aims and satisfy his base without any thought to the broken families and traumatized children he leaves in his wake.

"This is immoral and, like many residents and local leaders across the country, I feel powerless. We are still a promised land to many around the world who seek to escape the unsafe or inhumane conditions of the place they were born.  We should meet those seeking refuge with open arms, not locked cells.

"I have always believed that the District of Columbia and the United States are stronger because of the diversity of thought, culture, and language that immigration adds to our history and heritage.  We should be doing more to ensure that immigrants feel welcome in our communities and our country.  That’s why I have fought for legislation that would lower language barriers to education in D.C., change our government issued I.D.s to ensure our residents cannot be targeted by ICE, provide legal aid to those whose status in our country is in question, and even allow some of our immigrant residents to vote in our local elections.

"I want to reiterate that my office remains open to anyone who has been, or knows someone who was, affected by the Trump Administration’s immigration policy. Please contact my office at 202.724.8105 so we can connect you to organizations who can assist."

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Grosso expresses support for Ellington and fair resolution to residency claims

For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Grosso expresses support for Ellington and fair resolution to residency claims

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, regarding the Duke Ellington School of the Arts:

“The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is one of the premier public arts education high schools in the country, if not the world. The District of Columbia government and local philanthropic partners have put significant resources into the school, including most recently an extensive modernization of the building. This state of the art school is intended for, and ought to serve, residents of the District.

“Throughout my time as a Councilmember and as Chairperson of the Committee on Education, I have been an avid promoter of the arts, and of arts education in particular. My passion for the arts and the remarkable benefits they bring to our city extends to the storied Ellington. The entire District should be proud of this gem of a school. 

“Last month, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) issued findings of non-residency against a number of students at Ellington. It is unacceptable that a large number of non-resident students may be attending such a premier institution of learning at the expense of District taxpayers. However, any implicated family who legitimately has residency in the District should be able to provide proper documentation and resolve the issue. My office has spoken with families who fit this category but find their efforts to cure the issue stymied. While I fully support OSSE rigorously enforcing our residency requirements, there must also be an opportunity for families to resolve inaccuracies. I am calling today on the Mayor and Attorney General to figure out a way to quickly and fairly resolve these circumstances so that families can move on or avail themselves of the due process rights that they are owed.

“Unfortunately, the challenging situation facing the school and these families has been muddied by real and perceived bias from neighbors toward Ellington students. This has led to supporters of the school worrying that it is being unfairly targeted in an attempt to remove it. I want every Ellington student, family, staff member, and supporter to know that I do not support any effort to end the Ellington program, relocate it, or otherwise diminish its strength.

“I believe that we can come out of this scenario with a stronger Ellington, serving more D.C. residents and with a more robust set of applicants as we put more emphasis on arts education in DCPS and charter K-8 schools. Ellington’s future in D.C. is a bright one.”

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Councilmembers David Grosso and Robert White introduce legislation to improve LGBTQ health data

For Immediate Release:
June 5, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Councilmembers David Grosso and Robert White introduce legislation to improve LGBTQ health data

Washington, D.C. – Today Councilmembers David Grosso (I-At Large) and Robert White (D-At-Large) introduced a bill to improve the documentation by D.C. agencies of health outcomes and behavioral risk factors of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community, as the federal government prepares to limit its collection of this critical public health data.

“At a time when the federal government is retreating from its responsibility to protect everyone’s human rights, D.C. must do everything it can to ensure those rights,” said Councilmember David Grosso. “We have a responsibility to meet the unique health needs of our LGBTQ residents.  Requiring our agencies to collect this critical public health data will better inform our policymaking and improve the health outcomes of all District residents.”

“We celebrate Pride in June, but we must go beyond words and parades to affirm and support our LGBTQ friends and neighbors. We need to push back on these proposals by the Trump administration that would impact their health by pretending they don’t exist,” said Councilmember Robert White.

The LGBTQ Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018 would require the District Department of Health to collect demographic data on sexual orientation and gender identity through its annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS).

The BRFSS is a cross-sectional telephone survey conducted by state health departments in all 50 states and the District of Columbia with technical and methodological assistance provided by the Center for Disease Control.

It would also require the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to collect information on the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of respondents to the school-based Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). YRBSS monitors six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults.

“Having a better understanding of how our students identify and the impact their sexual orientation or gender identity has on their behavior and risk factors will enable schools to better serve our students’ non-academic health needs,” Grosso, chairperson of the Committee on Education, said. “When those needs are met, we know they are better prepared to succeed academically.”

All levels of government rely on the data from these surveys when making policy choices to address public health issues. Recently, Trump administration officials with the Center for Disease Controls hinted that they would discontinue the collection of this data.

Additionally, the bill would require that the data collected be used in the annual report on the health of the District’s LGBTQ community, a collaborative effort of the Department of Health and the Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

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LGBTQ Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018

LGBTQ Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018

Introduced: June 5, 2018

Co-introducers: Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmembers Robert White, Vincent Gray, Anita Bonds, Brianne Nadeau, Charles Allen, Elissa Silverman, Kenyan McDuffie, Mary Cheh, Brandon Todd, Jack Evans, Trayon White. 

BILL TEXT | PRESS RELEASE

Summary: To amend the Department of Health Functions Clarification Act of 2001 to require the Department of Health to collect information on the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of respondents to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; and to amend the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000 to require the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to collect information on the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of respondents to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Today, Councilmember Robert White and I are introducing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Health Data Amendment Act of 2018. We are joined by Councilmembers Vincent Gray, Anita Bonds, Brianne Nadeau, Charles Allen, Elissa Silverman, Kenyan McDuffie, Mary Cheh, and Brandon Todd as co-introducers.

This is a very simple bill—it requires the Department of Health and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to gather demographic data on sexual orientation and gender identity as part of their public health surveys of adults and students, respectively, in D.C.
Some members will recall this issue came up with regards to DOH a few years ago, and I introduced similar legislation then.

The Department did commit to gather the data, but only every other year, and new developments at the federal level threaten the progress that has been made.

This is data that OSSE is, in contrast, already collecting, and I don’t anticipate it causing any problem for them.

Understanding how our students identify and how that relates to their behavior or risk factors enables us to better serve students’ non-academic health needs.

When those needs are met, we know they are better prepared to succeed academically.

At a time when the federal government is retreating from its responsibility to protect everyone’s human rights, we must ensure that D.C. is doing everything it can to ensure those rights.

Part of that is documenting the health disparities that affect our LGBTQ neighbors so that we can target interventions to end those disparities. 

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Grosso dismayed by depth of residency fraud at Duke Ellington

For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Grosso dismayed by depth of residency fraud at Duke Ellington

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, on today’s release of a report on residency fraud at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education:

“Today’s report not only confirms the stunning depth of residency fraud at Duke Ellington, but also that the previous two chancellors had repeatedly lied to the Committee and the Council about how profound this problem is. I continue to grow frustrated with the lack of transparency from D.C. Public Schools and the Executive and this is the latest blow to their credibility. That is why I pushed to have OSSE assume responsibility of DCPS residency investigations last year and made investments through the annual budget process to provide resources to fulfill those responsibilities.

“Through their diligent work, the agency has revealed that up to 40 percent of students at Duke Ellington, representing over $2 million in D.C.-taxpayer funded education a year, are not District residents and had no plan to reimburse the District for tuition. Under no circumstances is this acceptable.

“I appreciate the work of OSSE and Superintendent Hanseul Kang on this issue. Over the years she has acknowledged that investigating residency fraud was an area that OSSE needed to improve. Today’s report, along with the additional 111 cases of potential residency fraud from throughout the District that OSSE has referred to the Attorney General this school year, show that the agency is ensuring that D.C. schools are serving D.C. students.

“The District of Columbia is full of brilliant young artists and musicians who deserve the ability to attend Duke Ellington. One of the premiere public arts education programs in the country, the school should serve D.C. families first and foremost. Yet the breadth of these allegations shows that the school and DCPS were, at the least, extremely lax in oversight.

 “I will be monitoring DCPS’ and Duke Ellington’s compliance with the corrective action plan laid out by OSSE to improve both school-level and central office compliance with our residency requirements. Additionally, I will continue to support OSSE’s role of investigating and reporting residency fraud in D.C. schools by making the necessary investments, including the four additional full-time equivalents and $300,000 for contract support approved unanimously by the Education Committee last week for FY2019.”

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FY2019 Budget Questions and Responses

Councilmember Grosso, as chairperson of the Committee on Education, has sent pre-hearing questions to D.C. Public Schools, the Public Charter School Board, D.C. Public Library, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education, and the Deputy Mayor for Education as part of the annual FY2019 budget process. Responses to pre-hearing questions will be uploaded as they are received by the Committee on Education.

You can find the Committee's questions and agencies responses here.

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New OSSE report shows worsening racial disparity in use of suspensions

For Immediate Release:
January 19, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

 

New OSSE report shows worsening racial disparity in use of suspensions

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, regarding the State of Discipline Report for the 2016-17 School Year released yesterday by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). In comparison to the 2015-16 school year, the report found that black students are even more likely to be suspended as white students and that disciplinary action for subjective reasons has increased:

“The results of OSSE’s report on discipline in school year 2016-17 are very upsetting. Perhaps what is more distressing is that they are unsurprising. Though the overall rate of students receiving at least one out-of-school suspension is slightly down, the total number is up. Most troubling of all, the disparities in their application based on race have worsened.

“The current state of affairs is reinforcing the racial inequalities and biases that plague our education system—black students are nearly eight times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than white students. It is unacceptable.

“The report also found that: students with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to receive at least one out-of-school suspension; at-risk students 1.5 times more likely. We are seeing an increase in the use of disciplinary actions for subjective reasons. I am also convinced that these discipline practices contribute to the worsening absenteeism problem in our schools.

“Suspensions and expulsions often deprive students of their right to an education. Students pushed out of school are more likely to fail academically, to drop out, and to end up involved in the criminal justice system.

“We must continue the reforms to school discipline that I started when I began my tenure as chairperson of the Committee on Education.  On January 30, 2018, I will hold a hearing on my legislation to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline in our traditional public and public charter schools, the Student Fair Access to School Act of 2017.

“This bill limits out-of-school suspension of students in kindergarten through eighth grade to the most serious of circumstances and bans its utilization in high school for minor offenses. If exclusion becomes necessary, it protects a child’s right to an education while they are off premises and requires a plan for the student to successfully return to the classroom.”

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New structure for D.C. school athletics moves forward

For Immediate Release: 
November 15, 2016
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105
mnocella@dccouncil.us

New structure for D.C. school athletics moves forward

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Council of the District of Columbia preliminarily approved Councilmember David Grosso’s proposal to create a governing state association for interscholastic athletics that address issues plaguing the current structure.  The following is his statement on the proposal:

“Interscholastic athletics in the District of Columbia are desperately in need of reform.  During my tenure as chairperson of the Committee on Education it has become clear that problems persist that affect operations, governance, and enforcement. Solving these woes is necessary to restore confidence and accountability in school sports.

“The major issue facing our current system is a lack of structure for consistently enforcing rules and regulations that is easily understood by the public.  The roots of this problem stem from imprecise regulations further complicated by a piecemeal approach to governance.

 “The bill establishes the DCSAA as a quasi-independent agency that will act as the governing body.  OSSE will remain the regulatory authority for athletics.

“It creates a 15-person Commission, including mayor-appointed parents and members from the various types of schools, as well as non-voting ex-officio members from related agencies.  The Commission will have ultimate control over DCSAA and its staff and the authority to set and enforce membership standards that are consistent with D.C. laws and OSSE regulations.

“Additionally, the Commission will establish Athletics Appeals Panels, consisting of three voting members from the commission, who will hear appeals from member leagues or schools.

“For example, if a DCPS student has an eligibility dispute at their school the DCIAA will hear the matter and issue a ruling.  If the student wants to appeal the decision, they can bring it to an Athletic Appeals Panel who will review DCIAA’s decision on its merits without doing any further fact-finding.  The Athletics Appeals Panel will then issue a final decision that will be enforced by the Commission. 

 “A lot of time and effort went into thoughtfully crafting this bill.  I would like to thank those who engaged with me and my staff to give us insight into their experiences with interscholastic athletics, especially our agency partners at OSSE, DCPS, the PCSB, and other charter LEAs for participating in working groups about the current regulations. I look forward to final passage at the next legislative meeting of the Council.”

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