Tuesday, July 19, 2005

$1 billion for school renovation? The Times says "hold on"

The Times' editorial board weighs in on the School Modernization Financing Act of 2005 and, unlike the editorial board of the DC Examiner, it isn't as enthusiastic in its support: The irresponsible school-fix-it bill.
Much of the superintendent's plan already is in the hands of the board, and while we do not believe it goes far enough toward saving money, it is a start. Charter schools and social-service organizations, including those administered by the government, are in need of more space. The school system is wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to "maintain" closed and underused buildings, and the money generated by selling or leasing surplus space could be used to modernize schools that remain open. As Board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz said months ago, "We are now paying light bills and maintenance bills for tens of thousands of square feet not in use. I think the council will look more favorably on us if they perceive us to be responsible on this co-location issue."

It's worth noting again that the District's chief financial officer, Natwar Gandhi, warned the lawmakers and school authorities a few weeks ago that the school-bond legislation is a risky financial proposal that could pose a substantial threat to the city's creditworthiness.

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