Thursday, March 16, 2006

BoE accelerates school closings

Last night the Board of Education voted to accelerate the closing of excess space within DCPS's facilities. Last month the Board voted to shed a quarter of a million square feet by the start of the next school year. Last night's vote has quadrupled that number to a million square feet. It appears as if the impact of Superintendent Janey's budget -- and the deficit in funds to cover it -- have finally prodded the Board to address the District's under-utilized public school facilities.
City schools, which submitted their budget proposals Friday, were told to factor in a three-year, 12 percent increase in teacher salaries because of a collective-bargaining agreement that is being negotiated. For Wilson Senior High School in Northwest Washington, according to officials there, the resulting $438,000 shortfall could force the elimination of up to six teachers.

"As a board, we are taking steps . . . to get funds back to our local schools," school board member Tommy Wells (District 3) said last night. "This is a monumental step."

Superintendent Clifford B. Janey told the board he will determine by next month the cost savings from accelerating the closings.
How much will these closings save on the projected $40 million budget shortfall? About $20 million according to Mary Filardo of the 21st Century School Fund.

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