Trayon White Floats Bill to Help At-Risk Schools

D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) introduced legislation last week that would change the school funding formula for public schools, primarily located in Wards 7 and 8, that serve a high percentage of at-risk students.

White’s bill — The Critical Risk Rate School Funding Designation Act of 2019 — schools that have at-risk student populations at the level of 70 percent, would be able to secure a higher rate of funding from city.

Under the proposed fiscal 2020 budget, 31 schools faced spending reductions, with 20 schools facing cutbacks of five percent or more. White had success in convincing his council colleagues to forward $5.353 million to the 31 schools but acknowledged that more needs to be done.

“We need adequate funding for critical needs,” White, who represented his ward on the D.C. State Board of Education from January 2012 to March 2014, said in in a June 24 conference call. “Ward 8 has the largest number of at-risk students in the city.”

White noted 18 of the affected schools are in Ward 8 while neighboring Ward 7 had 14. He also said that while Anacostia High School’s enrollment has increased, “Ballou has less than 500 students.”

Council members Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) and Robert White (D-At Large) co-introduced the measure with White, who said fellow council members David Grosso (I-At Large) and Anita Bonds (D-At Large) also support the bill.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) referred White’s bill to the Committee on Education, chaired by Grosso, and the Committee of the Whole, which Mendelson leads.

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