Councilmember White Describes His Work on 2018 Budget to ANC 6C

First-Year Councilmember Says Three of His Four Items Received Funding

Councilmember Robert White (I-At Large) presents to ANC 6C on his work on the District Budget for Fiscal Year 2018. Photo: Elizabeth O'Gorek

Councilmember Robert C. White, Jr. (I-At Large) appeared before the June meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C to discuss the work he has done on the District Budget for the 2018 Fiscal Year.

Councilmember White said that he pushed for four things to be included in the budget, and that he was successful on three of those items. The first was free transportation for adult learners, allowing them to ride Metro without charge as do other DC students. White said adult students had told him that one of the biggest roadblocks to finishing their education was the cost of transportation.

He has worked to add four new employees to the Office of the Tenant Advocate, and two more positions to the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs. This Office assists persons returning from federal facilities and prisons. White said prisoners who are sentenced to terms longer than two years are sent out of the District. When they return, often after ten or twenty years’ absence, the office is supposed to be a resource for these people. White said the office doesn’t have the personnel to provide assistance in the manner it would like, and so this budget includes funding for two caseworkers and to develop a strategic plan.

White said that a bill creating an Incarceration to Incorporation Entrepreneurship Program was unanimously passed by District Council last year, but was never funded. White pushed for funding for the program in the 2018 Fiscal Year. He said that persons with convictions on their record are often discriminated against in the workforce, and the program is intended to help them start their own businesses. He said that this program was the only one of White’s interests that did not receive funding despite his efforts.

White said that over the course of his nine months as Councilmember, he has also become interested in the facilities situation at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan. He said that parents have told him that the list of prioritization for renovation created by District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) did not meet their needs. He has also heard from students who he said poignantly conveyed the need for improvement. Together with Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), White worked with the Council to accelerate the funding of the school’s modernization. Planning will now begin in Fiscal Year 2018.

Noting that he is himself the father of a young child, White said he thought the modernization of schools was particularly important to strengthening the District, because he believed that many parents were basing their long-term decisions about residency on the likely schools for their children. The strengthening of the schools, he said, is therefore the strengthening of the District.

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