Testimony for B25-0069

Testimony

May 25, 2023

Jessica Giles
Executive Director
Education Reform Now Advocacy

The Committee on Public Works & Operations Public Hearing on:

B25-0069 – “District of Columbia Public Schools Procurement Authority Amendment Act of 2023″

 

Good morning, Chairperson Nadeau, members and staff of the Committee on Public Works & Operations. My name is Jessica Giles. I am a ward seven resident and the Executive Director of Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA). ERNA is fighting for a just and equitable public education system for all students in Washington, D.C. Although we understand the intent of this legislation, we oppose B25-0069, the “District of Columbia Public Schools Procurement Authority Amendment Act of 2023.″

Repealing D.C. Public Schools’ (DCPS) independent procurement authority would create a bureaucratic nightmare and lead to extensive delays in providing critical goods, services, and resources to our students. DCPS is the largest local education agency (LEA) in the District, and moving its massive procurement needs under an already bloated agency would slow procurement down. In the past, when DCPS was forced to outsource approval of contracts, school openings were delayed, and urgent repairs went unfixed.¹ We don’t want to go back to the days when teachers didn’t have books, paper, or pencils in their classrooms. Those were tough days and led to the critical reforms we have now that have yielded progress in students’ academic achievement.

Clearly, DCPS has not complied with the law that requires D.C. agencies to submit contracts valued at $1 million or more to the D.C. Council for approval before being awarded to vendors. DCPS must take immediate corrective action to put accountability measures in place. And, the D.C. Council should continue to provide oversight of this process.

Every LEA has its own independent procurement authority, and DCPS should not be treated differently. If anything, DCPS principals should be given more autonomy to provide their students with the resources and services they need, not be mired down in additional red tape.

For these reasons, we strongly oppose B25-0069, the “District of Columbia Public Schools Procurement Authority Amendment Act of 2023″ and ask that the Committee reconsider this legislation. Thank you for letting me submit written testimony.

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¹Children in Crisis: The Failure of Public Education in the District. District of Columbia Financial
Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority. November 12, 1996.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/library/dc/control/part1.htm

 

DC Council’s Procurement Proposal is a Bureaucratic Nightmare

News & Press

DC Council’s Procurement Proposal is a Bureaucratic Nightmare

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cesar Toledo, Cesar@edreformnow.org

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2023) — Today, Jessica Giles, Executive Director at Education Reform Now D.C., issued a statement regarding the Public Works & Operations Public hearing on B25-0069, the “District of Columbia Public Schools Procurement Authority Amendment Act of 2023:″

“Repealing DCPS’s independent procurement authority would create a bureaucratic nightmare and lead to extensive delays in providing critical resources to our students. Today’s hearing on this legislation is overreach by the DC Council and is more of a political stunt than a solution,” said Jessica Giles.

Giles continued, “This proposal would have major unintended consequences that both DCPS and the D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement are unprepared to address. In the past, when DCPS was forced to outsource approval of contracts, school openings were delayed, and urgent repairs went unfixed. Ultimately, the passage of this bill would cause students, parents, educators, and principals to be victims of unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.”

“DCPS must take immediate corrective action to put accountability measures in place to transparently process major contracts.”

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About Education Reform Now D.C.
ERN DC is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank and advocacy organization fighting for a just and equitable public education system for all students in Washington, D.C. We seek progress in DC Public Schools and public charter schools by developing and advocating for systemic change to eliminate racial inequity and discrimination in DC
public schools.