Thursday, May 18, 2006

School consolidation plan passes first hurdle

Last night the DCPS Board of Education gave preliminary approval to Superintendent Janey's newly released Facilities Plan.
By a consent vote, board members accepted Janey's proposal to close six underused schools, clearing the way for an accelerated schedule of public hearings leading up to the board's final decision June 28. The proposal, introduced Monday, also calls for consolidating two schools and making available excess space in eight other low-enrolled schools to charter schools and city agencies.
The Board did express concern about the short frame of time allotted to manage the changes. The Board also passed an amendment, introduced by board member Victor Reinoso (District 2), that requires the Superintendent's office to conduct a detailed analysis on each of the schools slated for closure.
The report, which Reinoso wants to be issued at least a day before the board holds a public hearing on a school, would include projected enrollment of the receiving school, a revised budget for the receiving school, projected improvements to the building, a security plan addressing potential gang conflicts between students at the blended schools and a relocation plan for books, computers, furniture and records.

1 comment:

Terrance J. McMichael said...

Dr. Janey's proposal to close six schools comes as no surprise. No school district can fiscally afford to manage schools who budgets are predetermine by the enrollment of school students. Although, other questions come to mind when one considers this proposal. How much total revenue will be accumulate from charter schools and city agencies if we "make available excess space in eight other low enrolled schools?" How will we determine how to to redistribute the total revenue generated among various schools?

In the days to come the Board of Education will hold public meetings and seek input from the community. On what? On the pre-recommendations that were already voted on by the Board. Seeking input from the community on the schools in question should have been a conversation with the community befor now. They should have been in the process of identifying the schools. The question now is an issue of timing. Are we able to transition our students, staff, and the community for the mental, emotional, and physical changes that will occur? The Board concerns of the short time frame should be a sign that timing is very critical in dealing with a sensitive but important matter such as this. This is the time for leadership to step up and develop a strong plan that will accomplish the overall goal for both the community and school system. And that is a well structure facility that provides a nurturing and learning environment for our children.

In closing, Board Member Reinoso was on point with his amendment. However, included in the amendment should have included an projected transportation plan for relocated students. And detailed analysis to include accommodations for students with special needs.

Terrance J. McMichael, Sr.
Candidate, District III
Board of Education