Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B May 2020 Virtual Meeting Notes

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B held its second Virtual meeting last night via Zoom.  This blog post will highlight some of the top items that were discussed.

View the live stream here:

Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, DC Public Schools

DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee was the first presenter at this month’s meeting. He covered several subjects, but focused on the outlook of the Mayor’s proposed FY21 budget on the school system.

So far, the Mayor’s budget proposal for education includes a 3% increase in per-student funding over fiscal year 2020. Individual schools’ submitted budgets are now available for public review at dcpsdatacenter.com. Each includes a budget narrative that explains how the plans submitted by principals and local school advisory teams may have shifted from one school year to the next.

DCPS will invest $2.1 million in the Connected School model next year. This program delivers wrap-around services like wellness, housing, financial assistance and the like for families who are referred. Ten schools across the city participated in the program last year. The closest one to Ward 4 is Cardozo High School.

Over the next six years, the Chancellor expects that the city will invest an additional $1.4 billion in capital spending, including 40+ school modernization projects.  One notable project is a new elementary school at the site of the Old Hardy building on Foxhall Road NW (Ward 3) which will help to relieve some of the overcrowding in schools in that part of the city.

During the question and answer period, Mr. Ferebee said the DCPS had distributed nearly 10,000 laptops to students to assist with distance learning.  Some students who do not have at-home broadband internet were also provided with mobile hotspots.  Students who will be attending (virtual) summer school or participating in the DC Summer Youth Employment Program will be allowed to keep their devices over the summer. In regards to the structure of school as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, he said that the system is currently exploring several different options and is counting on parent feedback to help them guide that decision.

The Chancellor thanked all the parents and community members for their support during the Distance Learning. He also assured the audience that designated schools will still serve as meal sites for students in need during the summer.

At-Large City Councilmember Elissa Silverman

Elissa Silverman

At-Large DC City Councilmember Elissa Silverman joined the conversation to share about her oversight experiences at the Department of Employee Services (DOES).

Since the COVID-19 lockdown began, over 100,000 people who work in the District have filed for unemployment. Of those, more than 50,000 are city residents.  The unprecedented demand for unemployment insurance claims has strained DOES’s computer system to the breaking point.  Ms. Silverman said, “I hope that coming out of this we will make investments to make the system work for everyone.”

Ms. Silverman has been working from the DOES offices has gained a great perspective from being near the frontline on this issue. She stated, “This has been an exercise in building the plane while we’re flying it.”

The average unemployment claim in the city is around $179 per week.  In addition, employees can receive $600 per month in additional funds due to the Federal CARES act. That bonus payment will end in July.

CM Silverman was also eager to share information about DC’s “Shared Work” program. This program provides an alternative to layoffs. Businesses can reduce the hours for employees to a minimum, while the employees still remain eligible for certain UI benefits. Click here to learn more.

Finally, she mentioned that the DC Council Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, which she chairs, will permit live witness testimony during the upcoming budget hearings.  Email labor@dccouncil.us to get added to the list.

Riggs Place Place Development

Jason Sereno, Development Director for local builder EYA, joined the meeting to share the company’s latest update on the Riggs Park Place development.  Riggs Park Place is an upcoming townhome and apartment community that will be constructed at the intersection of Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue NE.

Riggs Park Place Site Plan

The plan calls for 174 total residential units. 90 units will be for-sale 2 and 3 bedroom townhomes.  The other 84 units will be rental senior apartments that will be built over a retail and parking podium.  There will be 20,000 sq. ft. of retail with 5,000 of those dedicated to local or unique retailers.  Groundbreaking is scheduled for July and the anticipated completion date is during the summer of 2022.

A community benefits agreement has been established with the Lamond Citizens Association. Benefits included in the agreement range from workforce and small business development funds to college scholarships for local students.  The project will also include 20% or more affordable units, including five of the 20 foot-wide townhomes to support larger families. Income levels for these units are 50% AMI for three of the homes and 30% AMI for the other two.

If you’re interested in learning more, EYA is having a virtual preview event on Wednesday, May 27th. Click here to register.

Reports

Report from Office of Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon T. Todd

Deputy Chief of Staff Dolly Turner joined the webinar to provide the latest updates from Councilmember Todd’s office.  She focused heavily on the upcoming budget process, offering a long list of Ward 4 school rehabilitation projects that will continue on schedule despite the budget challenges.

Construction and rehab of Eastern Avenue will soon go on hiatus until the Winter of 2021. Nearby residents have been complaining about construction issues and include what may be damage to some of their homes.

Councilmember Todd chairs the Committee on Government Operations. It will hold its budget oversight hearings on June 11th and 12th. You can submit written testimony for this hearing to Sam Stevens at sstevens@dccouncil.us. You can also submit up to a three-minute voicemail by leaving a message at 202.430.6322.  As of now, there will not be live testimony for this committee.

Report from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services

Mr. KeShawn Harris from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services dialed in to provide the latest news from the executive suite.  While it is obvious that most of the Mayor’s attention has been focused on fighting the pandemic, the city still has many operations that need to function.

The city is soliciting applicants for the 2020 DC HOPE Community Grant, which will provide up to $50,000 in funding per award for city-based nonprofits organizations to help implement community social distancing engagement and public health awareness outreach efforts. Visit here to learn more.

Also, Mr. Harris shared that all graduating seniors will receive a cap and gown and a yard sign to celebrate this major milestone in their lives.

About Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B represents the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Takoma, Manor Park, and Lamond-Riggs. An ANC is a non-partisan, neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. The Commissioners are elected to two-year terms and serve without pay.

The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government. Although they do not have to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.”

These are the members of ANC 4B:

Single Member District Name Email
4B01 Evan Yeats 4B01@anc.dc.gov
4B02 Erin Palmer 4B02@anc.dc.gov
4B03 Scot Knickerbocker 4B03@anc.dc.gov
4B04 Brenda Parks 4B04@anc.dc.gov
4B05 Perry Redd 4B05@anc.dc.gov
4B06 Tiffani Nichole Johnson 4B06@anc.dc.gov
4B07 Geoff Bromaghim 4B07@anc.dc.gov
4B08 Alison Brooks 4B08@anc.dc.gov
4B09 LaRoya A. Huff 4B09@anc.dc.gov

Find your ANC here.

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