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Grosso invites D.C. youth to public roundtable on issues facing the city's young people

Councilmember David Grosso announces the scheduling of a public roundtable of the Committee on Education on youth issues. The roundtable will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 in Hearing Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building.  The purpose of this roundtable is to hear testimony from District of Columbia youth regarding issues that impact their lives as they make their way through the public education system. 

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Ensuring Our Children's Safety On The Way To School

Guaranteeing our children not only feel safe at school, but also on their way to and from, allows them to focus on learning and is a primary concern of Councilmember Grosso.  In August, he requested that the Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles and Chief of Police Cathy Lanier share their plans to keep students safe and what information they are sharing with parents. With the recent increases in violent crime and delays caused by Metro’s SafeTrack programming, these plans are even more important.

Deputy Mayor Niles responded to the councilmember with a letter laying out their efforts on school safety planning as well as for SafeTrack.  Below you can find the letter Councilmember Grosso received from the deputy mayor, a summary of the SafeTrack communications plan, the Metropolitan Police Department's Annual School Safety and Security Report, as well as the original letter Councilmember Grosso sent.

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Grosso Shares Important Characteristics of Next Chancellor with Mayor

Councilmember David Grosso, chairperson of the Committee on Education, sent a letter today to Mayor Muriel Bowser, outlining important characteristics that should be considered as she moves forward with the search for a new chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. 

In Councilmember Grosso's view, the ideal candidate for the job will have past work demonstrating a commitment to closing the achievement gap; share Chancellor Henderson's commitment to equity; have a track record of engaging the whole community to serve the whole child; be willing to engage in cross-sector collaboration; and "keep the trains running on time".

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Grosso Connects with Educators at Summer Conversations

On July 18 and August 2, Councilmember David Grosso, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, invited educators throughout the District to attend a summer educator townhall to discuss issues that impact their ability to teach students. Some fifty teachers candidly engaged in a provocative dialogue with Councilmember Grosso about some of the most pressing issues troubling public and public charter schools throughout the District of Columbia, from their point of view.

We’ve highlighted just some of the comments made during the conversations below.

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Grosso Proposes to Codify Objective School Modernization Approach

For Immediate Release
June 7, 2016

Contact: Keenan Austin
(202) 724-8105

 

Grosso Proposes to Codify Objective School Modernization Approach

Washington, D.C. — Today, Committee on Education Chairperson David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced the “Planning Actively for Comprehensive Education Facilities Amendment Act of 2016,” also known as the PACE Facilities Amendment Act. The bill would codify the Committee’s objective approach to determining the prioritization of inclusion in the capital improvement plan for D.C. Public Schools, based on equity and data, not politics. It would also update the requirements for a Master Facilities Plan for public education facilities in D.C.

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Thoughts on DCPS FY17 Capital Budget

In 2008, D.C. released a new Master Facilities Plan for DCPS to prioritize renovations of schools, with an emphasis on improvements to the academic learning environments—i.e. classrooms. This was to allow for enhancements to all schools within 5 years, rather than pursuing more capital-intensive full modernizations, which would have required more than a decade to complete. However, over time, priorities shifted. Last year, the Committee on Education was surprised to learn that even after spending over a billion dollars since 2008, 24 schools still had not received any form of renovation.

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D.C. Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Passes First Vote with Grosso's Priorities

For Immediate Release
May 17, 2016
Contact: Keenan Austin
(202) 724-8105

D.C. Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Passes First Vote with Grosso's Priorities

Washington, D.C. -- Today, the D.C. Council took its first vote on the "Fiscal Year 2017 Local Budget Act of 2016", "Fiscal Year 2017 Federal Portion Budget Request Act of 2016", and "Fiscal Year Budget Support Act of 2017", which together comprise the fiscal year 2017 budget. Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) worked closely with his colleagues to ensure inclusion of his top priorities in the budget. Grosso made the following statement:

"I am proud of the hard work and collaboration that happened during the budget process on behalf of D.C. residents. My colleagues and I were tasked with balancing the city's many priorities. Through this arduous process, we produced a budget that is fair and puts the needs of the people at the forefront.
 
"Budgets are about choices and unfortunately we could not do everything that we wanted or that was asked of us. Nevertheless, I believe this budget will continue to move us forward and help ensure that we are putting students in the District of Columbia in the best position to learn and succeed. The Committee on Education's budget and policy recommendations that passed a couple of weeks ago were strong, reflecting the needs and issues raised during the performance and budget oversight hearing process, and I am delighted to see that the Committee of the Whole builds upon our efforts. For a second year, the Committee utilized an objective process that evaluated the status of DCPS facilities and ranked them for modernization based on 4,600 data points.
 
"I am especially grateful that my colleagues once again supported the Committee on Education's approach to depoliticize funding of our school modernizations. Our model, based on equity, student demand, community-centered schools, and transparency, prioritizes the schools in greatest of need. 

"Particularly important is inclusion in this budget of funding for the replacement and closing of D.C. General, a goal that I have championed for years. I commend Mayor Bowser for taking on this important and difficult task. While I acknowledge the great deal of work ahead, the changes that the Council made will strengthen the plan, while saving money and ensuring stability. I was glad to help identify capital funding necessary for D.C. to own the new shelters rather than lease them, while working with my colleagues to ensure that Coolidge High School will still complete its full renovation onthe Mayor's schedule."

Grosso's Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Victories
Education
Under Grosso's leadership, the Education Committee approved a $3.9 billion budget improving public education, literacy, and career readiness for all District residents, including:

  • $1.8 million to increase the subsidy rate for child care providers;
  • $2.3 million to increase additional capacity for the Strong Start Early Intervention program that provides services to infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays;
  • $1.6 million to continue the early literacy grant initiative targeting third grade reading success, which Grosso created in Fiscal Year 2016;
  • $11.9 million in capital funds for data systems infrastructure at OSSE, to improve data collection, transparency and coordination in the education sector;
  • $800,000 to restore the 21st Century Learning Grants at OSSE;
  • $200,000 for the establishment of a D.C. Oral History Project
  • $440 million in FY17 for school modernizations and other repairs for D.C. Public Schools;
  • $2.5 million for Show Up Stand Out, ACE, and PASS, programs that support student attendance and divert young people away from the criminal justice system;
  • $700,000 to increase the library collections budget including opening day collections for Palisades, West End, and Capitol View branch libraries;
  • $600,000 to support the success of the Books from Birth program at DC Public Library;
  • $1.2 million to expand the school-based health centers located in 7 schools throughout D.C.; and
  • $650,000 for the Department of Health to continue funding for the teen pregnancy prevention programming and teen peer sexual health educators.

Capital Improvement Plan for DC Public Schools
This year, the Committee on Education continued its objective approach to capital modernizations. The model was refined to include 4,600 data points throughout 10 categories to rank all 112 schools in the DCPS portfolio, and was based on the following principles:

  • Ensure that the Capital Improvement Plan reflects equity focused planning, aligns investments with student demand, upholds the values of community centered schools, and builds facilities to support quality educational programs;
  • Exercise greater discipline in managing the scope and budget for the projects; and
  • Increase transparency in the capital funding process, including delineating general stabilization fund categories such as roof repairs, boiler repairs, ADA compliance, and electrical upgrades to school specific projects.

As a result, the Committee approved a $440 million Capital Improvement Plan for FY17, enhancing the Mayor's plan by $13 million.

Arts
As a world class city, Grosso believes we must plan and develop strategies to sustain a thriving artistic and creative sector, which includes:

  • $4.6 million to increase Arts Building Communities to provide more grants to more artists and provide larger grants to organizations that currently apply for multiple grants in order to meet their need;
  • $1.45 million to conduct educational activities and outreach to youth and young adults;
  • $30,000 to increase training and employee development of new staff of the Commission on Arts & Humanities; and
  • $20,000 to increase legislative and grants management for the processing of additional grants by the Commission on Arts & Humanities.

Health and Human Services
As a member of the Committee on Health and Human Services, and recognizing the impact health and human services has on the success of students at school, Grosso is glad to see important investments in this sector including:

  • Over $100 million in capital funds to build smaller, more humane shelters for families experiencing homelessness, resulting in the closure of D.C. General, fostering more stability, and saving over $165 million in the process;
  • $2 million for additional Permanent Supportive Housing for individuals transitioning out of homelessness;
  • $2.5 million for additional Targeted Affordable Housing for individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness;
  • $4.9 million for youth development funding that will be issued in FY17 while the government and community create a new strategy to replace the D.C. Trust; and
  • $1.2 million for Produce Plus to support low income individuals eating healthy and fresh food.

To learn more about the Committee on Education's budget and priorities on the Committee on Education, please visit www.davidgrosso.og.
 
 
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Grosso's FY17 Budget Unanimously Passed by Committee on Education

For Immediate Release

May 5, 2016

Contact: Keenan Austin  

(202) 724-8105

 

Grosso's FY17 Budget Unanimously Passed by Committee on Education

Washington, D.C. - Today the D.C. Council Committee on Education unanimously passed the budget formulated by Committee Chairperson David Grosso. The $2.3 billion in operating dollars and $1.6 billion in capital budget for the city's public education system includes public schools, public charter schools, and libraries, and next goes to the full Council for a vote. The budget builds upon the Executive's investment in the full modernizations of all schools. The Committee continues its work on an objective approach to capital funding, establishes a strategic communications protocol around environmental safety, including exhaustive water testing, and restores a critical investment in public libraries.

"I've often said that the education of our children does not happen exclusively in our schools. To best serve our children, every part of the government must be engaged in this process," said Grosso.

"This budget supports the full modernization of all DCPS schools with a priority on the schools that are in the greatest of need. Many of our schools have not seen full construction or modernization over the past few decades, while others enjoy second and third iterations of development. These inequities cannot exist if we are committed to each child receiving a quality education regardless of their zip code."

"It is the responsibility of our government to make sure that taxpayer dollars support our students fairly and equitably. Last year I introduced a tool to remove politics from the city's education budget, and this year we were able to improve it with even greater analysis and better data."

The Committee also makes a number of important policy recommendations including a periodic review of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula and the publishing of statewide discipline guidelines and regulations. The Committee's budget also establishes a D. C. Oral History project to ensure that our unique history is properly preserved for generations to come. The budget includes the following enhancements:   

  • $220M new funding for DCPS capital modernizations
  • $22.5M in small capital improvement projects at DCPS
  • $1.8M to increase child care subsidy rates to align rates with licensing ratios
  • $1.6M for early childhood literacy interventions to improve 3rd grade reading outcomes
  • $3.9M for a data warehouse centralizing data from our school system
  • $2M for general library maintenance, as well as $350,000 for general collections
  • $450,000 for life-saving access to epinephrine in schools
  • $200,000 to support college access and college readiness programs
  • $1M for Healthy Tots subsidies for early childhood education centers
  • $727,000 for environmental literacy
  • $400,000 for collections and maintenance for the soon-to-be reopened West End, Capitol View and the Palisades libraries
  • $1.5 M to support the Cleveland Park Library project
  • $600,000 to provide additional funding support for the Books from Birth program
  • $200,000 for the establishment of a D.C. Oral History Project
  • Sends $107,871 to the Department of Human Services to increase 1.0 FTE for the PASS program which works with youth and families to improve school attendance and performance and prevent juvenile justice involvement

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Grosso: Dissolution of D.C. Trust is Both a Challenge and an Opportunity

For Immediate Release: 
April 28, 2016
Contact: Keenan Austin
(202) 724-8105
   

Grosso: Dissolution of D.C. Trust is Both a Challenge and an Opportunity

Washington, D.C.--Councilmember David Grosso, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, released the following statement regarding the dissolution of the D.C. Trust, formerly known as the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, after today's budget oversight hearing with the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services:

"Today's hearing provided an important venue to discuss how to move forward in the aftermath of the D.C. Trust's dissolution. I appreciate the thoughtful insights brought by community members and Deputy Mayor Donald. I also understand the frustration and disappointment felt by members of our youth-serving community at how this has all unfolded. I look forward to working with my colleagues, the executive, and stakeholders in the community to chart the best course forward in a collaborative and transparent manner.

Since taking office I have questioned the efficacy of the D.C. Trust in the wake of historical mismanagement. While the Trust provided funding for many critical activities after school and during summer, I was not sure it was the best model for delivering this money. For this reason, I met regularly with the Trust and pressed the agency for answers, such as last fall when important youth-serving programs were facing cuts to their funding. With the dissolution of the Trust, it is imperative that we develop a new mechanism to fund youth programs, in a way that is stable, well-managed, and sufficiently resourced. I will also work with my colleagues to ensure that the $4.92M originally meant for the Trust remains in the FY17 budget for the same purpose, and that funding for summer programs, which the Trust will still administer, gets out as quickly as possible.

While this announcement presents many challenges, I also see it as a moment of opportunity. As Chairperson of the Committee on Education, I am optimistic that we can now completely re-envision what it means for the D.C. government to invest in and support our youth and children from a holistic, cross-agency perspective. The work of the Trust and the programs it funded are critical to the success of our city in general, and key to improving educational achievement in particular. I want our families, young people, and youth-serving organizations to feel reassured that although the D.C. Trust is closing, I will see to it that the government redoubles its commitment to supporting our students, inside and outside of the classroom."

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