Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Turning Point for Expanded Learning: Behind DCAYA’s Bold FY18 Budget Ask

In June of last year, DCAYA released a report which documented the declining trends in funding for and access to afterschool and summer expanded learning opportunities for DC children and youth. We noted that DC Public Schools (DCPS) elementary schools with the highest “at-risk” student enrollment also tended to have the lowest share of available afterschool enrollment slots through Out of School Time Programs (OSTP), and that the District’s FY16 budget included cuts to OSTP, with programs being offered at eight fewer DCPS Title I schools from SY2014-15 to SY2015-16. 

In addition, local funding for community-based out-of-school time (OST) programs had declined by 60% since 2010, resulting in only a quarter of the locally-funded slots for community-based afterschool and summer learning that were there for kids just six years earlier (from close to 10,000 in 2010 to under 2,500 in 2016). Much of this decline happened as funds were administered through the DC Trust, which closed its doors in September 2016.

Promising Trends. At the start of the current school year, there were 7,700 OSTP afterschool slots in DCPS, up from 6,790 the previous year, and the overall OSTP allocation in the FY2017 budget reflected a 33% increase from the previous school year. New funding covered OSTP programming at three additional schools, more than 800 additional afterschool enrollment spaces, and 183 added FTE positions to provide afterschool coverage at the schools. According to the School Budget Development Guide, DCPS is also adding three more schools to OSTP in FY2018. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Transportation Advocacy Letter for Re-engaging Youth & Adult Learners

DCAYA and our partners at the Adult and Family Literacy Coalition (DC AFLC) have drafted a letter to the City Administrator and Mayor's Budget Director that we'd like to have as many of our members, providers working with disconnected youth, and individual supporters as possible sign on to by Wednesday, February 22nd.

It is our goal to both elevate this ask as the Mayor's team develops her proposed budget, and to garner widespread support among Councilmembers and other key stakeholders in the case this ask will require Council advocacy later in the budget cycle. The letter applauds the DME's transportation report and recommendations, and reiterates the importance of supporting the District's adult and alternative education students.

The letter reads as follows. If you or your organization would like to be included as a signatory, please click on the link toward the end of this post to contact Amy Dudas ( the name and title of the organization or individual you'd like to include on the letter:

February 24, 2017

Dear City Administrator Young and Budget Director Brown:

We, the undersigned, want to thank you for the leadership and commitment the Bowser Administration has demonstrated in exploring the transportation needs of the District’s adult learners, alternative education students, and formerly disconnected youth. In the effort to develop an effective and efficient policy solution to the persistent barrier transportation costs pose to this population of students, the Deputy Mayor for Education’s “Report on the Need for Transportation Subsidies and Assistance for Adult Learners” identified a much-needed path forward. As providers of and advocates for adult and alternative education, we especially appreciate the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s and the Deputy Mayor for Education’s collaboration to identify the unmet need for transportation subsidies among these students, the impact of increased transportation costs on attendance and enrollment for this population, and the options available to provide affordable access to transportation for these learners.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

DCAYA's Advocacy Agenda for 2017

This week, we wanted to share our advocacy agenda, going into this year's Performance Oversight and Budget hearings. We've broken down our short term goals for the next year or so by our four main issue areas.

Youth Homelessness

One main goal is to scale up the capacity of our system to serve close to twice as many youth through developmentally appropriate and culturally competent services. To this end, we will be advocating for fully funding the first year objectives in Youth Strategic Plan, an investment of $5.7 million. Not limited to beds and transitional housing, this investment also includes building support for long term prevention and intervention strategies.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Progress Amidst Uncertainty - A recap of DCFPI's event

Yesterday, DC Fiscal Policy Institute hosted an event, co-sponsored by a number of local organizations, including DC Alliance of Youth Advocates. The event was called, "Progress Amidst Uncertainty: Making the Most of DC's 2018 Budget". Our entire team was in attendance, at the True Reformer Building.
Beverly Wheeler was our Emcee for the morning. Ms. Wheeler is the Director of DC Hunger Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger in the Nation's Capital.