Thursday, June 08, 2017

Big Wins for Youth and Families in the FY18 Budget

The second FY18 budget vote will occur on June 13th at 11am (watch here:, and the final legislative vote will follow shortly after. But in the meantime, we wanted to share the progress we’ve made in elevating the needs of the District’s youth and families through the Council’s first vote.

To highlight the fruits of your labor throughout this budget season, read on for more about the Council’s budget decisions impacting our four issue areas: Expanded Learning, Disconnected Youth, Youth Homelessness, and Youth Workforce Development. 
Expanded Learning: $4.9 Million to OST*
Office of Youth Outcomes (Deputy Mayor for Education): While significant progress has been made to build the new Office of Youth Outcomes on a solid foundation, the Committee on Education maintained flat funding at $4.9 million for community-based afterschool opportunities for District youth. In this budget season, the Committee on Education prioritized identifying funds to reach the recommended increase of 3.5% in per-pupil funding, yet *Chairman David Grosso did commit to allocate an additional $2 million to the OST system in the likely chance of a budget surplus this summer. As the system continues to strengthen, DCAYA is committed to restoring OST funds to the historic $10 million mark to ensure demand for these critical youth development programs are met.

DCPS: The funding for DCPS’s Out-of-School-Time Program was also steadily funded at $3.7 million; however the school-based system is likely to see a reduction in capacity of 2,000 seats due to limited staffing and school budget capacity. With the increased per-pupil funding rate, DCAYA will advocate to fill that gap and minimize the impact of any reductions within the OST system.

Disconnected Youth: $2 Million to Implement
Adult Learners’ Transportation Subsidy

Expansion of Student Transportation Subsidies: Having exhausted every advocacy opportunity with both the executive and Council, Councilmember Elissa Silverman's Committee on Labor and Workforce Development identified $2 million to support adult and alternative learners in travelling to and from school affordably. For now, the money has been to referred to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) as the agency works out the details of implementation. Identifying a fair daily rate of ridership for the population of students this program will serve is critical to the success of the program, so we will continue to monitor DDOT's progress to ensure this program is well-designed and rolled out quickly. We thank the Councilmembers and staff who championed the establishment of this program, especially CMs Silverman, Grosso, R. White, Cheh and Evans.

Per-Pupil Funding Increased: The Committee on Education and Council Chairman Mendelson worked to increase the base per-pupil funding for DCPS and PCS from 1.5% in the Mayor's proposed budget to 3% at the time of the first vote. A mayoral-appointed working group recommended that in order to meet the demands of increased enrollment in both school sectors and the need of students, a 3.5% increase to the base-level per-pupil funding was necessary. In collaboration with our partners at DCFPI, DCAYA will continue to monitor the impact of this 3% increase and advocate that surplus funds be used to close the remaining 0.5% gap.

Youth Homelessness: $3.9 Million to Implement
Year 1 of the Youth Plan

The new resources and funding needs set out in Solid Foundations DC: The District’s Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Homelessness for shelter beds (32 slots), aftercare (62 slots), transitional housing (15 units), and permanent supportive housing (16 units) were met . The funding request for rapid rehousing was funded at $500,000, creating 20 slots by the Committee on Human Services. This specific funding meets part of the funding request of the Youth Plan, and we're confident that funding is sufficient to build up this resource in Year 1 of the plan. We are also confident this money will move forward untouched into the final vote, but we encourage any efforts to thank the Council for identifying these funds, moving these priorities through the first vote, and preserving these levels for the final vote.

Youth Workforce Development: Policy Recommendations on Transparency & Support for Disconnected Youth

WIOA Implementation: The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development included policy recommendations in their Committee Budget Report that included the development of an operational plan to implement WIOA that should include timelines and milestones and voted on by the WIC Board. We're happy to see this effort to make the implementation of WIOA more transparent, inclusive, and proactive.

Workforce Program Transparency: The Committee also reiterated their request for a full outline of DOES's current workforce development programs, vendors, funding and outcomes. The Director committed in hearings to deliver this outline by the end of June.

Maintained Interest in In-School Programming: Following the shift in federal priorities to serve out-of-school youth with WIOA funds, youth workforce development advocates have been raising concerns about the reduced capacity of in-school youth programs. The Committee requested that DOES assess the demand for in-school programming, and report out on their findings.

Emphasis on Support for DY in SYEP: The Committee recommended a new protocol for assessing, engaging, and supporting youth who self-identify that they're disconnected from school and work. The goal of this language is to better identify the needs of these youth, connect them to the most appropriate supports, and link their SYEP experience to a longer-term education or workforce training opportunity.

Transparency in Grant-Making and Contracting: This recommendation seeks to address some of the concerns DCAYA raised in performance oversight hearings regarding rushed, poorly-communicated, and confusing procurement processes. The Committee requested that DOES provide a running list of upcoming procurement priorities to give programs time to plan and strategically align with DOES's funding priorities.

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