Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Budget Blog Part II

Today’s blog comes to you as Part 2 of our team’s analysis of Mayor Bower’s proposed DC Budget for 2016. The Mayor’s proposal is now before Council where, through a series of upcoming public hearings and advocacy meetings, it will be debated and revised by Council Committees before it goes to a final vote.

Last week, we brought forward our concerns about the DCPS afterschool budget. Now we would like to turn our analysis to older youth services and system-level investments. We encourage you to take a look at our analysis and then testify about your particular concerns at DC Council budget hearings.

Please note that our analysis will become more nuanced as we are able to clarify details about the budget. To keep up with the latest information, sign up to our mailing list.


Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE):
  • The budget does not replenish $1.36 million in SLED’s federal funding that will lapse in FY16. We are hopeful that OSSE and the DME will find a solution that both supports SLED's continued strength and OSSE's capacity. We trust that Council, in its oversight role, will monitor this process and step in if necessary. Read about the importance of SLED: Seize the SLED
  • The funding mark for Career and Technical Education is cut by 18% ($1.2m) in the FY16 budget. This reflects a broader-based cut that reduces OSSE’s ability to expand the number of Career Academies as previously planned. Career Academies already in operation will not be affected.
  • Funding for the DC ReEngagement Center is sustained within the budget, yet we are concerned that staff reductions of 2.5 FTEs within the office of OSSE’s Assistant Superintendent of Postsecondary and Career Education might impact Center staff. 
  • We are still trying to determine the status of the federal 21st Century Learning Grants that pass through OSSE to community-based afterschool providers. The 21st Century Learning Grant is a formula grant so it should remain stable, however that is not apparent in the FY16 budget. We will update you if we find out that this $6 million is, in fact, not available for FY16.
    • Updated 4/16/15: As confirmed by the OSSE Assistant Superintendent, the 21st Century Learning Grants are secure for the upcoming school year.

DC Public Schools and Public Charter Schools

  • Afterschool funding has been cut by 50%. 25 coordinators and central office staff will be laid off. This will erase all of the hard work from previous years to develop a strong afterschool infrastructure that ensures students are enrolled in and receiving quality programming. At the school level, afterschool money was moved to pay for extended day. Read for more information:
  • While $32 million in new investments were added to the DCPS budget, alternative schools and adult education schools were notably not included in FY16 improvement plans. Increasing capacity in these alternative placements is critical to successfully place disconnected youth into educational programs.

DCAYA Ask: DCAYA will advocate for the DC Council to fully fund SLED by replacing the $1.36 million with local funds, maintaining the District’s burgeoning educational data warehouse. We are also asking the DC Council to fully fund afterschool at $6.5 million. Sign the petition here.

OSSE Budget Hearing: April 30, 10AM, Wilson Building Room 500

DCPS Budget Hearing: April 23, 10AM, Wilson Building, Room 412


Department of Human Services

  • Funding for homeless youth services in the Department of Human Services budget appears to remain stable, in large part thanks to last year’s legislation. Currently advocates and the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) are working to distribute the FY15 funding to providers as quickly as possible. The ICH is also working to develop a youth-specific strategic plan that will guide future funding in this area. The strategic plan will be developed from the data collected from the new coordinated entry system.
  • One gap that the coordinated entry work has highlighted is policy and programming for homeless minor-headed families. Currently, minors with their children cannot access housing services through VA Williams because they are minors, and they cannot access housing services for minors because they have children. Filling this gap will take resources that are not identified in the current budget. 

DCAYA Ask: DCAYA will advocate for the DC Council to keep youth homelessness funding stable and ask Council to consider the impact of a minor-headed families policy change on the DHS budget.

DHS Budget Hearing: April 24, 10AM, Wilson Building Room 500


Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp 
  • The DC Trust is funded again at a $3 million baseline. As we have advocated in the past, this leaves the Trust to rely on leftover funding from other agencies to fund critical afterschool and summer programs for youth. At this time, the Trust will not be able to fulfill their final year of funding for their 3-year grants to 33 afterschool providers.

DCAYA Ask: For DC Council to give the Trust an additional $2.5 million to cover the already-committed afterschool grants and $3 million to pay for summer programming.

DC Trust Budget Hearing: May 1, 10AM, Wilson Building Room 412


Department of Employment Services/Workforce Investment Council
  • Funding to the DOES Summer Youth Employment Program increased by $3.2 million from FY15. This is the result of a decrease of $2 million from the program’s base budget and an enhancement of $5.2 million to expand the program to serve youth 22-24, increase SYEP pay to the minimum wage ($8.25/hr for youth 16-24), and provide free transportation for the full six-week program.
    • Updated 4/21/15:  DOES has stated that the base budget for SYEP will not decrease, remaining flat at the FY15 level of $12.1 million plus an enhancement of $5.2 million. Therefore, the total budget for SYEP in FY16 will be $17.3 million, and DOES has submitted a request for Technical Correction to change this funding mark in the budget book
    • Year-round programming provided by DOES will see an increase of $2.3 million, which reflects an increase in our federal funding as well as $1.67 million increase in local funds from FY15.
      • Updated 4/21/15:  DOES has stated that funding for Year Round Programs will not see increased funding and will remain flat at the FY15 level of $9.9 million. DOES has submitted a request for Technical Correction to change this funding mark in the budget book.
    University of the District of Columbia
    • DC funding for UDC/UDC-CC was reduced by $5 million. While a portion of this cut accounts for the removal of one-time funding, we are concerned that the remaining $3.5 million cut might inequitably impact programs and services offered by UDC-CC.

    Department of Transportation
    • Mayor Bowser has included an additional $7 million to WMATA’s budget to expand Kids Ride Free to rails, which is an incredible, and smart investment in youth across the District

    DCAYA Ask: While it is encouraging to see the ratio of the District’s investments in SYEP to year-round level off from 2:1 in FY14 to 1.7:1 in FY16, we are still concerned by the changes that this budget makes to the overall youth workforce landscape. DCAYA will advocate for full funding of youth workforce development programs beyond the SYEP expansion to age 24 to ensure the District is able to connect these older youth to employment and further training beyond the six-week summer program.

    As for the expansion of the Kids Ride Free Program, DCAYA is very happy to see Mayor Bowser’s commitment to removing the barrier of transportation costs for youth in the District in her first budget. This expansion will have a huge impact on a young person’s ability to make it to school on time, and to get to a part-time job or internship without breaking the bank. Nevertheless, many youth who are working through multiple barriers and have reconnected to alternative education still lack access to Kids Ride Free. We are advocating during budget hearings for the DC Council to explore expanding Kids Ride Free for the approximately 720 youth 22-24 who are connected to an LEA.

    DOES/WIC Budget Hearing: April 27, 10AM, Wilson Building Room 500

    UDC/UDC-CC Budget Hearing: April 20, 10AM, Wilson Building Room 412

    Be on the lookout for an email from us with complete budget talking points and tips for testifying at DC Council budget hearings!

    DC Alliance of Youth Advocates envisions a community where no youth is considered at-risk and where all are respected as valued members of society. Facilitating robust community input on the DC Budget to ensure smart, stable funding that positively impacts DC youth is a major part of our work. Please check our website calendar for opportunities to have your voice heard at an upcoming DC Council Budget Hearing.

    To read more about youth issues in DC you can FOLLOW us on Twitter, LIKE us on Facebook and VISIT us at

    No comments: