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Chairman Grosso’s Education Budget Increases Modernization Dollars, Rejects Methodology of Mayor’s Budget But Largely Sticks to Plan

Some important changes for Ward 6 included in draft council proposal

Today, DC Council Committee on Education Chairman Grosso released his proposal and report for the education portion of the FY17 budget, including modernization funding and priorities. The Education Committee will vote on the Chairman’s proposal on Thursday, May 5. CHPSPO members involved in advocacy over the past year on these issues prepared a quick view of the draft proposal from Chairman Grosso.

As background: Over the last year there has been a sustained advocacy effort by the CHPSPO group, mostly focussed on modernizations and cross sector collaboration. Those efforts have stepped up in recent weeks in response to the Mayor’s budget proposal. Many, many parents turned out to testify, approximately 250 parents and others from across the city signed a letter asking for broad reform in the modernization process, and there has been continued dialogue with Councilmembers Grosso and Allen.

In the middle of all of this, several of our neighborhood schools have been dealing with the emergence of the lead in drinking water debacle and the failure of several agencies to prevent, respond to or communicate about this threat to kids’ health.

The combination of the budget and policy proposals from both the Education Committee and the Transportation and Environment Committee represent some true responsiveness to the school communities and some good policy making. But they also clarify just how far we have to go.

It is a particular victory that the Chairman has released a dramatically different prioritization matrix of capital projects in the schools than was proposed by DCPS.

While the Chairman’s matrix did not translate in to a significantly revised capital spending plan, it is a big qualitative step forward from the work done by DCPS and sets the stage for any new capital dollars that become available in the City. It also represents a big victory for the call for broad reform that CHPSPO has led.

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