Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day

I hope all are enjoying their three day weekend. It seems that the folks over at the Common Denominator have been busy, busy bees this weekend and have four new articles about DCPS.
  • The latest editorial takes a look at the status of DCPS facilities since the paper's inception and notes what hasn't been done and what has.
    Let's explore a few of the ways in which these officials have chosen to invest millions of public tax dollars during those same seven years:
    • The D.C. Board of Education and D.C. Public Schools administrators moved their offices from downtown to Capitol Hill, where their rented, Class-A office space includes such amenities as toilets that flush and building maintenance workers who can be called on to promptly replace burned-out light bulbs.
    • The mayor, city council and other top public officials moved their offices back into the ornately restored Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue after an expensive battle to buy back the building's lease from a politically connected, private developer.
    • Washington's professional basketball and hockey teams were lured back to town from the suburbs with a deal that taxed local businesses to help build MCI Center, while closing down part of a Chinatown street and removing the businesses that operated there to make way for the sports arena.
    • The new Washington Convention Center, the most expensive construction project in the city's history, was built and remains unfinished, in a deal that raised hotel taxes and left city taxpayers still paying off about $30 million of construction costs for the old convention center, which has been demolished.
    • City officials committed to building a new stadium in the South Capitol Street commercial corridor as part of a deal to lure a Major League Baseball team back to the nation's capital, but they are still trying to figure out how to pay the approximately $1 billion, including financing charges, that the project will cost.
  • Matt Wennersten has a new column up entitled Time to start planning for next year
  • Stephanie Brinson takes a look at the supply problems that plague DCPS teachers.
  • Finally, does new BoE member Jeff Smith have a conflict of interest problem on his hands? Smith is also under contract to the D.C. Public Charter School Association to "help the nonprofit organization's member schools receive Medicaid reimbursement for special education services they provide to students." Smith was cleared by the Office of Campaign Finance in April but School board Executive Director Russell Smith wants the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to further look into the matter.

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