Erika Harrell, executive director of ElectED DC, a community advocacy organization focused on Wards 7 and 8, issued the following statement today on the DC Council’s passage of the fiscal year 2025 $21 billion budget:

“As we celebrate the Juneteenth holiday,  it’s disappointing that the District’s FY ‘25 budget does not fully meet the needs of Black and brown families and students in our communities. While restoring some crucial programs is positive, we have serious concerns about cuts to alternative education and the expansion of punitive policies.

“The reinvestment in support services like Community Schools and the Parent Stipend Program are wins for families east of the Anacostia River. However, gutting the Interim Alternative Education Program leaves suspended students lacking a productive learning environment. Coupled with the Secure DC Act’s controversial policing provisions that could endanger youth, the budget could perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline.

“While this budget is likely the best we’ll get out of this cycle, we must emphasize that more work remains. The council and mayor must prioritize the voices of families and students to build a balanced, restorative approach to public education and safety. ElectED DC will continue tirelessly advocating to ensure all students can thrive, pushing for deeper investments to uplift DC’s most vulnerable youth populations.”