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Torture continues regarding D.C. charter school facility funding

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Here's a sample from today's article by the Washington Post's Emma Brown regarding plans for funding DCPS facilities:

"Henderson budgeted $62 million to renovate Spingarn during the next two years. But Catania and other council members have argued that the school system can accomplish its career-education goals within existing high schools, many of which are not fully enrolled. The money would be better spent, they have said, on schools for younger children that are growing and improving but are housed in decrepit buildings.

Under Catania’s proposal, renovations would be moved up to 2015 at schools including Watkins Elementary on Capitol Hill, where modernization work has been pushed back three times in four years, as well as Marie Reed Elementary in Adams Morgan and Orr Elementary in historic Anacostia — two of the last D.C. schools saddled with the open-floor plans trendy in the 1970s.

Capitol Hill’s School Within a School also would see a boost to its renovation budget next year, as would Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan and Murch Elementary in Upper Northwest. Catania declined to insert money for Johnson Middle in Southeast, a priority of Education Committee member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), but he did include an important prize for parents — and voters — east of the Anacostia River: $8 million to begin planning for a new application-only middle school in Ward 7."

$62 million for Springarn that may now be diverted to fix other buildings. More money for Capitol Hill's School Within a School, Capitol Hill Montessori, and Murch Elementary. $8 million for planning a new middle school. Even if the charter facility allotment goes up from $3,000 per student per year to $3,072 as Mayor Gray has proposed, the school system that now educates 44 percent of all public school students can maybe afford, if it is both fortunate and determined, perhaps $20 million to renovate a dilapidated shuttered DCPS site. This figure is embarrassing in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars the regular schools receive.

For all the talk from politicians of school reform no one is even mentioning fixing the manner in which capital money is allocated. Instead of Ms. Bower stating that we need Alice Deal for all maybe her slogan should be Dunbar of all. The city spent $122 million renovating this building. Mr. Catania touts his legislative achievements, but in answer to my question about the inequity in spending he reminded me that charters do get the $3,000 per student.

Perhaps one day there will be a candidate for office who rewards charters for all the hard work they have done to raise academic achievement in this town at the same time they are continuously distracted from academics because they have to search endlessly for space. I guess that time is not now.

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