Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, celebrated investments in his budget priorities included in the fiscal year 2019 budget for the District of Columbia, which was given final approval by the D.C. Council on May 29, 2018.
“This budget comes before us during a tumultuous time in the public education sector, but I believe the funding we have approved move us forward in education reform and toward closing the achievement gap,” Grosso said. “It makes new investments that put students in the best position to succeed by creating positive school climates, bolstering community schools, and expanding access to multilingual education in D.C.”
The Council’s full budget largely preserves or increases investments approved by the Committee on Education in Grosso’s education priorities and makes investments in other areas of focus for the councilmember:
- Prioritizes students’ right to learn by reducing the use of exclusionary discipline: $3.4 million to fund the Student Fair Access to School Act to protect students’ right to an education, close the achievement gap, and foster positive school climates, including an increase to the at-risk weight of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula.
- Improves educational outcomes by meeting students’ non-academic needs: An increase of $1.4 million for a total investment of nearly $3 million to expand community schools, which set students up for academic success by addressing their academic, health, and social needs through community partnerships.
- Invests in the mental and physical health of our students: Provides $3 million at the Department of Behavioral Health for school-based clinicians and $4.4 million at the Department of Health for school-based nurses.
- Increases access to multilingual education in the District: $367,000 to establish the Office of Multilingual Education in OSSE, with dedicated personnel whose mission is to increase cross-sector access to high-quality multilingual education across the city.
- Supports students with special education needs: Fully implements the Enhanced Special Education Services Act and includes $350,000 in new funding for teacher training in special education.
- Creates a world-class central library: $1.5 million for opening day collections at the newly-modernized Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, set to re-open in 2020.
- Preserves our local history for future generations: $500,000 for the D.C. Oral History project, a collaboration of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Humanities DC, and the D.C. Public Library, over the next four years.
- Provides resources to combat residency fraud: Provides four full-time staffers and $300,000 to OSSE to aid its mission of investigating and reporting residency fraud in D.C. schools.
- Expands equitable, high-quality out-of-school learning opportunities: Provides over $20 million for after-school and summer programming for students—more than double the current level of grant-funding for community-based organizations and unthinkable under the former D.C. Trust.
- Supports early childhood education: Includes a new tax credit for families to offset the high cost of raising a child in D.C. and increased the reimbursement rate for subsidized childcare.
- Continued investment in early literacy interventions: $1.6 million in continuing investments in the successful early literacy intervention program that gets students at or above reading level by third grade.
- Invests in Fair Elections: Fully funds Grosso's legislation that establishes a strong public financing system for campaigns in D.C., weakening the influence of large donors and corporations in our elections.
- Fights homelessness and housing insecurity, especially for vulnerable populations: $15.6 million to combat homelessness including $1.6 million to fully fund the Interagency Council on Homelessness Youth Plan in 2019, with $300,000 from the Committee on Education to provide wraparound services at a new 24-hour drop-in center and additional youth beds.