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Check Out the Mayor’s FY2018 Budget Proposal

by Prince Of Petworth April 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm 59 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Mayor Muriel Bowser presented “DC Values in Action,” DC Fiscal Year 2018 (FY2018) Budget and Financial Plan, to DC Council. As the twenty-second consecutive balanced budget, this proposal will help ensure that every single resident has a roadmap to inclusive prosperity. For the third consecutive year, Mayor Bowser hosted a series of budget engagement forums to hear directly from residents about their ideas and concerns about education, public safety, affordable housing, jobs, economic development, health, and human services.

“This budget fulfills our commitment to promote and defend DC Values and to aim for inclusive prosperity,” said Mayor Bowser. “From historic investments in public education, to investments in job training, second chances for returning citizens, and ensuring our families have a safe, affordable place to call home, this budget prioritizes DC residents by standing steadfast to our DC values.”

“DC Values in Action” incorporates this feedback along with agency recommendations and mayoral priorities to formulate the FY2018 budget proposal. From again investing $100 million in the Housing Production Trust Fund to allocating more than $1 billion in full-scale school modernizations, this budget will continue to move Washington, DC forward. Here are a few of the key investments proposed in DC Values in Action:

High-Quality Education

Rising enrollment in our traditional public and public charter schools, and increasing student achievement demonstrate that school reform in DC is working. The FY2018 budget makes the largest investment in public education in the history by:

  • Committing an additional $105 million to increase the per student rate and meet the needs of a growing student body;
  • Increasing charter school facilities by 2.2 percent to $3,193 per student for non-residential charter programs and $8,580 per student for residential charter schools;
  • Improving technology to help parents navigate and engage in public education, specifically the parent portal for DC Public Schools; extending MySchoolDC for mid-year entries and transfers; and launching a new MyChildCareDC site;
  • Increasing the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the Community College of the District of Columbia funds for the staff and programs by $5.7 million;
  • Expanding and improving Child Care by $15 million. Potential sites include UDC’s Flagship Campus (4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW), UDC’s Community College Campus (5171 South Dakota Avenue, NE), UDC’s Community College Campus Headquarters (801 North Capitol Street, NE), and the Deanwood Recreation Center (1350 49th Street, NE);
  • Transferring $4.9 million of former DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC) funds to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) for out-of-school-time programming; and
  • Investing $1.3 billion for school modernization over 6 years to ensure that schools in line for modernization under established, defined criteria are budgeted for necessary improvements.

Safer, Stronger DC

The District is committed to ensuring that those in all neighborhoods feel and are safe, providing an environment in which residents and businesses can thrive. The FY2018 budget includes the following investments:

  • $11.7 million in enhancements focused on recruiting and retaining Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers, as well as ensuring that many officers can return to patrol-related duties. This will be accomplished through: a new public relations campaign; expansion of the police cadet program; expanded housing assistance; student loan forgiveness; and further civilianization of administrative positions;
  • $2.3 million for the creation of a Returning Citizens Portal to be managed by the Department of Corrections. This will be a physical office offering services from various agencies to help returning citizens successfully transition back into the community. Vital post-release services include: housing, employment, education, health care, job training and placement, and substance use or mental health;
  • $1 million for the establishment of a nurse triage collaborative pilot program between Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) and the Office of Unified Communications with a goal to improve access to medical services for callers into 911 by offering nurses who can speak to non-emergency callers and help them make an appointment at a same-day clinic;
  • $20 million for essential upgrades to 311/911 hardware and software, including major upgrades to our secondary facility on McMillan Drive, NW;
  • $42.2 million for the purchase of new MPD fleet vehicles;
  • $87.7 million for the purchase of new FEMS fleet vehicles, and
  • $45 million for the construction of a new fleet maintenance facility.

Affordable Housing

The Bowser Administration remains committed to producing, preserving, and protecting affordable housing in all 8 wards. This is demonstrated in this budget through the commitment of another $100 million contribution to the Housing Production Trust Fund. This investment will continue our shared goal to support grants and loans, thus yielding more affordable housing for DC families. This budget provides additional funds for the below projects’ affordable housing components:

  • $2.5 million for DCRA to hire additional housing inspectors, increase the number of vacant and blighted properties abated, and improve internal business processes;
  • $14 million for the redevelopment of Walter Reed;
  • $103 million for the redevelopment of St. Elizabeths; and
  • $85 million for the New Communities initiative.

Pathways to the Middle Class

Maintaining a strong, diverse, and resilient city requires that every resident has a fair shot, and a pathway to the middle class. This is accomplished by supporting our most vulnerable families and residents; providing job training that leads to real employment opportunities; and by nurturing our small businesses to ensure their growth and success. Some ways the FY2018 Budget provides Pathways to the Middle Class are:

  • Continuing the investment in our youth through the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program by budgeting more than $20 million;
  • Serving as a regional leader by again fully funding the District’s share of the WMATA budget, adding a new express bus line on 14th Street NW in Wards 1 and 4, and expanding capacity of existing bus service in Wards 7 and 8;
  • Ensuring that the Department of Small and Local Business Development’s Certified Business Enterprise system continues to help our local businesses grow and obtain government contracts, and work on government funded projects by fully funding the program with $0.9 million;
  • Funding $16.8 million towards the Washington, DC Infrastructure Academy at Saint Elizabeths’ East Campus. This new facility will focus on occupational skills training and work-based learning initiatives related to the infrastructure industry, including utility, energy efficiency, transportation, and logistics sectors. Industry partners, training providers such as UDC, labor unions, and trade associations will offer a diverse skills training allowing DC residents the tools to begin and sustain careers in the infrastructure industry;
  • Implementing recommendations from the Housing Preservation Strikeforce through $10 million in funding; and
  • Advancing DDOT’s Vision Zero goals through $4.5 million for 45 new Traffic Control Operators along with 26 new School Crossing Guards.

Health and Human Services ·

Investing in the health and well-being of residents remains a priority in the Bowser Administration. Ensuring residents are able to provide for their families and connecting these families with valuable care and supportive programs when they need it most, ensures they have a fair shot at success in the future. The FY2018 budget includes:

  • Funding the next phase of the Homeward DC plan with $15.2 million, including $6.3 million for the Housing Authority;
  • $8.1 million and $16.2 million for FY19 and beyond for TANF reforms beginning during FY18 to help ensure that basic child enrichment needs are met;
  • Supplementing the Department of Health’s budget with $0.9 million to reduce the number of active opioid users, reduce overdoses and overdose fatalities, and improve health and economic outcomes for residents with a history of substance use;
  • Funding the Alternatives to Court Experience (ACE) and Parent and Adolescent Support Services (PASS) programs with $3.3 million; and
  • Providing $1 million for the Joyful Foods initiative.

Government Operations

Building a government that works for Washingtonians streamlines processes and improves efficiency. The FY2018 budget supports these improvements by:

  • Ensuring that the District’s share of WMATA’s operating and capital subsidies are fully funded;
  • Right-sizing DC’s snow budget with a $3.8 million budget increase;
  • Expanding the Department of Public Works’ rush-hour towing, grounds maintenance, and leaf collection efforts by $3.2 million; and
  • Allocating $1.5 million to the Office of the Chief Technology Officer for a District Continuity of Operations and Disaster Recovery Task Force which will evaluate District­ wide critical applications to prepare and test Disaster Recovery Plans.

To keep us on track to build a safer, stronger DC and to ensure that every Washingtonian is on a pathway to the middle class, the Bowser Administration will continue to make investments in all 8 wards ensuring every resident can share in our prosperity.

To view “DC Values in Action” FY2018 Budget and Financial Plan, click here.”

  • charlie


    They are asking for a multi million dollar increase in the number of “all ward” homeless shelters, and they don’t even put it on the talking points. DC is now going to spend well north of over $100M on these shelters.

  • anondad

    The increase for schools is not enough to keep up with inflation, so it turns into a cut. As in, if all else is equal at a school, they get less overall than they did the year before.
    And then we have millions of dollars in tax cuts.

    • Anonynon

      some people enjoy getting refunds, and do not have kids attending DC public schools (probably the majority of DC falls into this bucket). What is so wrong with that? Answer: should be nothing.

      • CapHillNative

        investing in good education can help lower crime rates and create a better city, it is basically an investment for all. why not invest in the youth of your community?

      • Colhi

        I don’t have children and I would rather DC invest in schools than give me a tax cut. I recognize that even though I personally don’t benefit tomorrow, I will benefit from the next generations of doctors and police officers and face it, social security donors.

        • FridayGirl

          I agree. I think the illustrates the fundamental divide in the U.S. right now: Those who believe their money should benefit the country/city/etc. as a whole and those who believe they should only have to pay for what they personally use.

          • maxwell smart

            ^ This 100%. And the hard part is a lot of things that people don’t think they personally use, they actually do see benefit from, either now or sometime in the past/future.

      • Formerly ParkViewRes

        Seriously? This is such a selfish and narrow-minded view. As others said it’s investing in the future of this country.

      • Anonymous

        Were you once a kid? Did you have a public education available to you? IDGAF if you don’t have kids. Good for you. But all of us were kids at one point.
        It’s the kind of thing where you have to pay it forward.

      • anon

        Take your Ayn Rand and go home.

      • artemis

        Investing in quality public education benefits us all (whether we have children or not).

        • Bluewhte

          I have yet to see any evidence that DC can invest in quality public education, so what’s the point?

          • FridayGirl

            Then we should be arguing about how they SPEND the money, not how they GET the money.

          • dcd

            Really? Not a parent, huh?

          • anondad

            Are you 22?
            I don’t think you understand the education system or how to measure it.

          • Bluewhite

            Nope, not a parent, just someone who pays my tax dollars to watch DC waste it, as many people have pointed out below.

            It is an amazing position to take that just because I’m not a parent, I can’t have an opinion on schools. DC has wasted millions of dollars on public schools, and I haven’t seen much of a reason why if we continue to increase the amount of money we spend on them, it will magically improve them.

          • dcd

            Of course you can have an opinion about schools. Opinions are like . . . well, you know. But when someone who isn’t involved with the schools at all claims that DC can’t invest in quality public education, and then just repeats “DC wastes money!” over and over, it demonstrates what that opinion is worth. And for the record, DC does waste money in connection with schools. But that’s not what you said above. You said, “I have yet to see any evidence that DC can invest in quality public education,” which is a qualitative criticism, not a knock on the school’s efficiency.
            It’s like in the thread yesterday, when someone said DC schools, collectively, must stink because so many people are in the lottery. Words can’t express how dumb that comment was, and remains.

          • FridayGirl

            “It’s like in the thread yesterday, when someone said DC schools, collectively, must stink because so many people are in the lottery. Words can’t express how dumb that comment was, and remains.”
            Did someone say that? I don’t think anyone said that. Stacksp said that of course not everyone gets a top-choice school when lots of people aim for the same schools rather than lesser-known schools. That has nothing to do with the schools stinking.

          • Anon X

            I said it and I stand by it. If the schools were so wonderful there wouldn’t be near riots when boundaries change and there wouldn’t be parents all over the city having near strokes at gaming out the lottery. They’d just send their kids to the high performing in boundary school. But they don’t, every one competes to get into the same small set of schools and those that lose out and don’t live in boundary get an inferior education.

            I’m not going to deny the progress made in the last decades but the educational divide in this city is still very stark. People who can afford the cost of expensive housing do so to get their kids in better boundaries.

            You guys have good experiences, but acting like dc is some great example setting school system is absurd.

          • Anon X

            I’ll add to my comments that I am fully in support of more funding for public schools and can’t believe anyone, parent or non parent or private school parent, feeling like a refund is a better use of funds than the schools. But that’s influenced heavily by my belief the schools are by and large inferior and an embarsssment and a drag on the economic viability of the city long term.

            If the schools were all rosy, why would we need funding that outpaces inflation except in targeted capital improvements and other narrow reasons?

          • HaileUnlikely

            I think dcd has a fair point, but I also think Anon X does as well. Regarding dcd’s point, sure, even if all options were very good, there could still be a place for a lottery. People might like to compete for the privilege of sending their kid to the best of the best (e.g., Schools Without Walls or Banneker) or the one closest to their home or to the parent’s job or something (all options obviously educationally great, but it sure would be nice to be able to pick up the kid without a detour from work to home). But in that case, it would be conceptualized as a chance to win a marginal improvement, not a race against doom. That so many people clearly view the lottery as a chance to not be doomed definitely says something about the state of our public school system (yes, it likely says something about use of hyperbole, too, but I don’t think what it says about the schools is ignorable).

          • Anonymous

            Be careful using people’s choices as evidence of something about the schools. There is a lot of bias that goes into people choices. Even die hard DC liberals.
            “I like the neighborhood school, but I’m concerned about the demographics in the upper grades, so we’re trying the lottery.”
            “Oh I’m all for social justice but…”
            “I’m looking for more diversity” (read: fewer black/brown kids)

            A lot of the schools that people reject would do a fine job educating their children.

          • HaileUnlikely

            That’s a fair point Anonymous. I’m sure that factor is often at play. That said, a large majority of the students at the best DCPS high schools in DC are still black and brown. Unlike their peers at my in-bounds DCPS high school, though, they learn stuff there.

      • eva

        I don’t have kids, but even if I was a soulless jerk, I would recognize that good schools are good for my property values, and overall quality of life. A city with well regarded schools is a magnet for stable upper income folks who will shore up the tax base for other things that more directly benefit me and my kin, and also lead the the availability of more varied goods and services as the population of the cities diversifies in income and family size/type.

  • Dude

    The schools are over-funded as they are, more money isn’t going to help. The attention and focus needs to be on the families and home lives of the students.

    • future dcps parent

      Did you know that DCPS teachers haven’t had a raise in years? What’s the incentive for high-performing teachers to stay? In this case, I think that more money to raise public teachers’ salaries would be well worth it.

    • anondad

      Do you have kids in school? Are you a teacher? Or do you base that on snippets you’ve read in a news article with broad attacks on librul schools?
      We do need attention and focus on families and home lives, but the schools are not over-funded.

      • FoggyBottom

        I may be bit hardened as a former Teach for America DC teacher (in another life), but we have the third highest funding per pupil of the 51 measurable units, yet have relatively poor educational outcomes. If that isn’t considered over-funded (or at least a poor utilization of said funding), we are looking at very different metrics. The notion that we most continue to spend good money after bad is silly to me and reduces the complexities of education to the almighty dollar. There is a reason why Utah spends the least per student of any state yet has considerably better educational outcomes. Money and effort should be focused there, not whether every student has an Ipad. Teachers can only do so much, whether they make 100k a year or 40k a year

        • Kevin


          DC is also the second most expensive place to live in the country, cost-of-living wise. Of course we spend more money on schools!

          • FoggyBottom

            Last time I checked, DC was the fifth most expensive (behind, NYC, San Fran, Honolulu, Boston) but your point is well taken. The question is not whether we should pay more per pupil in DC than less expensive places to live, we should. The question is what we get for that money, especially compared to other leading, and perhaps more expensive, cities. DC has the highest dropout rate, among the lowest SAT score, and consistently among the lowest or among the lowest for math and reading scores. If other expensive cities can do so much more with less, why can’t DC. Lets spend more money though–we have quite the track record to show it will pay off in the end.

        • I thought TFA was supposed to save public education from all those stupid teachers who went to school for degrees in education.

          • FoggyBottom

            Bazinga! Though in truth, I think we did do some good work in the Mississippi Delta. Other places, not so much.

      • anondc

        I think what Dude was getting at is that in spite of DC already spending 40% more per student than the national average (http://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/map-how-per-pupil-spending-compares-across-us.html), the public school system here is still producing students with some of the worst SAT scores in the country (https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/local/sat-scores-2015/1812/) and the lowest high school graduation rate (http://www.governing.com/gov-data/high-school-graduation-rates-by-state.html). There’s no evidence that additional spending is going to turn the school system around and the Dude seems to be suggesting that other measures might yield better results.

        • textdoc

          Yeah, this is what worries me.
          What is the breakdown of the District’s school spending vs. other jurisdictions’ spending? Is too much of the school budget going to middle management and not enough to teachers and renovations?

      • anondad

        If you look at salaries adjusted by cost of living, DC is pretty far down there. Comparing pay in DC to pay in rural TN isn’t helpful.
        The notion that reducing funding (aka, eliminating teachers, social workers, etc.) won’t have an impact on students is ridiculous.
        FWIW, I think that spending more on wrap around services is a great idea, and is done in a handful of schools.

        • anondad
          • Franny

            DC teacher salaries are currently the highest in the region, 6% on average higher then the next highest, Montgomery County. Arlington and Fairfax etc all lower than that.

            Michelle Rhee, for all the screaming incited made DC public school teachers the highest paid teachers in the nation, so much so that despite our neighbors in MD and VA giving steady yearly increases since to compete, they are still lower.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I don’t know how to say this without sounding horrible, so f*ck it, here goes: Think of it as hazard pay. If we did not pay teachers more than they do in Arlington, Fairfax, MoCo, et al., almost all competent teachers save for a handful of social justice warriors and those with deep ties and strong sense of loyalty to DC would go teach there instead.

          • navyard

            If they have kids and want free pre-school, that’s another nice perk. Not that it’s legal for them to do it, but it sure would be convenient.

      • Leeran

        DCPS being funded to the tune of almost $20,000 per student per year, compared to Baltimore (15.5) and Philly (15). It seems like there’s likely some waste in the budget that could be trimmed before we raise taxes in a city that already is fairly tax-burdened.

        • gotryit

          If you’re going to include the facility renovation costs, then you should consider that we’re in the middle of a big game of catch-up for the many years that facilities were neglected. I don’t think it’s fair to compare that to a city that kept up with their maintenance. Or at least spread out the facility capital costs over a 30-40 year (I know – no one is going to do that analysis).

          • Franny

            That 20K isn’t doesn’t include the “now” 4.5 billion the District will have spent in a little more than a decade on capital improvements. That ~20K per student is for teachers and to keep the lights on.

    • houseintherear

      There are many programs in public schools, such as Linkages to Learning and Community Outreach Coordinator positions/programs, that do exactly that but are funded through the public education budget (and some funding is through the nationwide Title I education budget). These programs provide counseling, classes on parenting, finance management, and language, and set up grants and funding to provide food and clothing for kids in need. Just an fyi.

  • David G.

    West Education Campus is soon to be the only open-classroom school in the city. The school is consistently rated one of the 3-5 most in need of renovation. The renovation has been delayed multiple times and now it’s being delayed again, apparently, from 2019 until 2020. The West district is bursting at the seams with young children. We need a renovated school yesterday, not six years from now!

    • FoggyBottom

      Yet despite your renovation need, further south, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts renovation is 100 million over budget (with more to come). The District has the cash. It is all about appropriate allocation, reasonable oversight, and competence, something which seems missing in this administration.

      • dcd

        At some point, someone is going to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the Ellington debacle. And when that happens, I predict a great many people will be retaining high-priced lawyers to keep them out of government housing.

    • anondad

      From the budget it doesn’t look like that’s a delay. Overdue – sure, but not additional delays. Where are you getting that info?

      • David G.

        You might be right. I have a memory of the design phase starting in 2019 in past years’ budgets rather than December 20, 2020 as is the case in the proposed FY2018 budget, but I could be mistaken. Regardless, the renovation is way, way past due and the proposed timeline is unacceptable. The stated reason for past delays is that Macfarland Middle School was under renovation and they needed to finish that job so that the middle school kids at West would have somewhere to go while West was under construction. The current schedule doesn’t coincide with that excuse. Macfarland will be well past finished by the time the design phase for West is scheduled to start.

  • Franny

    “Eye” roll…golly gee. Another year with another budget that increases at almost 2X’s inflationary per capita. That makes 13 years in a row.

    And I know any spending related to schools is supposed to be good and anyone who criticizes such things is a virtual communist who gets nasty looks, but the School Cap improvements have jumped the shark, and in fact did so a looooong time ago.

    This additional 1.3 billion over the next 6 years will make 3.5 Billion the city has budgeted over a 12 year period for modernization or new builds of the entire 113 school portfolio.

    Of the 2.2 billion that was budgeted over the past 6 years, DC actually spent 3.2 billion, running a solid 1 billion dollars, or 45% over budget. Duke Ellington went 100 million over budget all on its own.

    Point is, even if they don’t go a dollar over budget on this new spending plan, a small-ish City of 660K residents will have spent $4.5 Billion dollars in ~ a decade on school improvements, or $40 million per school for every school in the District.

    And DC schools have continued to get worse, notching lower performance and graduation rates now then when they started.

    I get that every child should be entitled to a clean, healthy space in which to learn but we are beyond the point where some people should have gone to jail for this level of poor management.

    Think of it like this. Over the past decade, 3 states, (CT, population 3.6 million), (Oregon, population 4 million) and (Washington State ,7 million) have all funded and finished massive, state wide public school modernization capital improvement campaigns, and they have all spent less than the District is.

    • FoggyBottom

      Well said. Certainly appreciate the comparison with other states–that line of thinking is quite striking. I always find it interesting to hear the common refrain that we must continue to spend increasing levels of tax dollars on education without ever a discussion on what one gets in return for that spending. Heaven for bid one suggest a stagnation or reduction in spending on the opinion that said money might be better spent elsewhere (or the wishful hope of money spent semi-competently).

      • anondad

        What do you think we should be doing less of in DC schools?
        Fewer social workers? Larger class sizes? Skip the janitors and let the place become a mess?
        Please take a look at a school budget in DC and tell me what we should cut.

        • FoggyBottom

          Well for starters, before talking about a reallocation of resources, I would simply like DC and DCPS to show some measure of progress based on the current money it receives before asking for more. This excludes the consistent over-budgeted million dollar boondoggles that are virtually every DCPS school renovation. DCPS has a top heavy, highly paid administration, but unlike comparable spending systems of NYPS and BPS, produce far worse student outcomes.

    • Alan

      “And DC schools have continued to get worse, notching lower performance and graduation rates now then when they started. ”

      Except that’s not true. Test scores are trending upward.

      The best criticism you can make is the scores aren’t trending upward fast enough, considering the expenditures. The money should go towards replicating programs that have demonstrated academic effect. Surely there are model classrooms/schools out there that we can scale citywide? KIPP? Or maybe systems overseas we could emulate? Finland?

  • Skeeter

    As someone who constantly complains about the high cost of living and how expensive it is to eat out and drink in this city I would gladly welcome a tax cut to either businesses or people. Especially knowing that if the maternity leave policy does get fully implemented that’s just going to further diminish my spending power in this city being that a number businesses have stated that they will pass that cost onto consumers.

    • dcd

      Well, that’s a new one: “It’s too expensive to eat out here, we need a tax cut.”

      • FridayGirl

        LOL. I had the same thought. I mean, the tax on eating out is hella expensive, but that’s why they tax it — because people like Skeeter will do it anyway. (Cook at home, Skeeter!)

        • Skeeter

          I do eat at home now and the COL is the reason why me and all of my friends who aren’t lawyers are leaving this city in the next few years.

  • Brett M

    This is why you need truly fiscally conservative people on the council. We have none, so DC will be back to running deficits if this passes.

  • Nora Heffernan

    I would like to offer up the suggestion that at least some of our (DC’S) problems in how our education funds are managed and spent ( along with many other public services) have a good amount to do with how our city government is limited in decision making by the federal government. Funds for many agencies are possibly not spent in the best or most productive ways due to the inability of our city to truly govern itself. I believe that sometimes city agencies and departments are almost ‘forced’ to spend funds in ways that are not the most beneficial due to the fact that any changes or new initiatives require the approval of the federal government. We all know how long that takes on even the issues that are considered nationally important and/or urgent. Not to say that it’s right to spend these funds in ways that don’t truly benefit the mission of said departments/agencies, but when faced with a “use or lose” situation (akin to vacation days or yearly healthcare spending allowances), it becomes harder to find as much fault and animosity. The truth of the matter is that DC should be able to determine on its own the right way to spend it’s tax dollars and any other funds.( If not statehood, at least true home rule of our city) Once that happens, there will be ample room to complain if there is no improvement.
    * Btw- I have no kids. I believe in the importance of public education and the importance of equal distribution of funds throughput the city. We are all investing in our collective future. Collective future.


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