Testimony of Jenny Reed, Policy Analyst, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, For the Public Oversight Hearing on Progress in the Implementation of the Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Act, District of Columbia Committee of the Whole| November 13th, 2009 | PDF of this report
Chairman Gray and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak today. My name is Jenny Reed, and I am a Policy Analyst with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. DCFPI engages in research and public education on the fiscal and economic health of the District of Columbia, with a particular emphasis on policies that affect low- and moderate-income residents.
My testimony today will focus on how the transparency of the DC budget needs to be improved so that a early childhood education advocate, a DC resident, or a DC Councilmember would be able to tell how well early education programs and services are being implemented in the District.
The DC Fiscal Policy Institute does not have extensive knowledge on implementation of Pre-K for All, but we are extremely well versed in the lack of transparency in the early care and education budget. For several years, we have tracked funding for early care and education, and we have raised warning signs over reductions in funding. But we have not been able to draw many conclusions because the budget lacks clear, detailed, and useful information. This makes it difficult to tell how much is being spent on various programs and what services are being delivered.
The early care and education budget is yet another example of how inadequacies in budget information in the District make oversight difficult for important services. Just three weeks ago, DCFPI testified about the lack of transparency in the DC Public Schools budget. We are hopeful that the Council will use this information to push for reforms that result in the availability of more meaningful budget information.
To read the complete testimony, click here.