DC Action Shares Initial Analysis of Mayor Bowser's Proposed FY22 Budget

DC Action Budget Analysis

Mayor Bowser’s administration has completed her proposed FY22 budget, and it’s a testament to the significance of the Biden administration’s investments in children, youth, and their families through the American Rescue Plan and other robust federal relief. The proposed budget uses the nearly $3 billion in federal funding to close the anticipated budget gaps and avoids what might have been devastating cuts to critical city programs and services. 

Mayor Bowser announced recently that the federal funding has allowed her to deepen commitments to affordable housing, public school financing, and mental health services for the next few years. Our team has been digging in, working with partners to understand what's in her budget for kids and youth, carefully examining when the federal funds expire and what kind of fiscal cliff we might anticipate in a few years.

We’re only able to provide you with a preliminary review right now. The Bowser administration had limited days between getting federal guidance on how the dollars could be spent and delivering the proposed budget to the DC Council. Many tables and budget narratives are still being updated and submitted for public review. 

In our DC Action Budget Priorities we urged the city to protect nearly $3.5 billion in investments for children, youth, and families and to prioritize $284 million in new investments to address long standing inequities due to the legacy of racial discrimination and intentional underinvestment in Black and brown communities. 

→ So far, we see that $3.4 billion in critical program investments for children and youth has been protected, with the exception of funds cut for some home visiting programs and youth homelessness programs and supports, which we will advocate to be restored.

→ There is nearly $162 million in new investments for children, youth, and families. 

We will look to the DC Council to:

1. Restore: $310,000 for CFSA Home Visiting programs and $307,000 for Youth Homelessness programs. 

2. Make New Investments: $60 million in Early Education; $300,000: Healthy Steps; $1.6 million for youth workforce and mental health services for youth experiencing homelessness. 


The Mayor’s Proposed Budget: What We Know So Far

DC Action’s 

Budget Priorities

Protects Current Funding?

Adds New Recurring, Local Investment?


Early Childhood



  • Funding protected for child care subsidy, Help Me Grow, lactation certification
  • $65m in one-time federal funds for child care stabilization
  • Cut CFSA Home Visiting ($310,000)
  • No local recurring funding to fairly compensate early educators 
  • Partial funding of Healthy Futures (unclear if recurring)

Youth Homelessness



  • Most local funding was protected, we are waiting for clarity on roughly $307,000 that may have been cut from the $21 million dollar baseline budget.
  • Federal funding was allocated to launch a PSH set aside for 10 youth aging out of the youth system and into the adult system. 
  • Federal funding of $1.5 million to right size the extended transitional housing program per-unit investment.
  • Another one time local investment of $1.3 million for transitional living programming in one time funding

Health and Nutrition



  • Local funds protected
  • Additional $5.3m for the DC Healthcare Alliance for telephone, semi-annual recertification
  • No additional local funding to expand Medicaid postpartum care or WIC access

Out-of-School Time



  • Local funds protected
  • $3.3m in federal funds to continue scaling OST, an important step towards restoring funding for OST, but one that we will need increased, long-term local funds to sustain when they expire.

Public Education Financing



  • Local funds protected
  • Increased per pupil UPSFF base 3.6% 
  • Increased supplemental UPSFF weights for at-risk, English learner students, alternative school settings

Student Safety



  • $500k in federal funds for deescalation training for school security guards, SRO




  • No proposals to raise revenue

But the Bowser Administration missed opportunities to address long-standing inequities resulting from the legacy of racial discrimination and intentional underinvestment in Black and brown communities. The District has the chance to start righting these wrongs by dedicating funds to the programs and services that we know can transform our children’s lives and communities for generations to come. The federal funding from the Biden administration is vital and appreciated. But we can’t expect that kind of funding to rescue us every year.

Many of the federal funds will expire in 2023-24. Now is the time to elevate revenue proposals that address the fiscal cliff surely to come; and to ensure we can continue to deepen needed investments in our children and youth’s future.

We will continue to cover the Mayor's budget proposal and DC Council public input process and go deeper into what we're seeing in each of our issue areas. 

If you would like to learn more about what’s in the budget, our partners at DC Fiscal Policy Institute have an upcoming opportunity:



Kimberly Perry is DC Action's Executive Director

June 2, 2021