Saturday, November 18, 2006

Janey wants to move HQ to Hine

Superintendent Janey is proposing to save DCPS $6.2 million a year by moving its headquarters from its current tony North Capital digs to the facility that Janey hopes will soon be the ex-Hine Junior High School. The plan is to consolidate Hine's students with the nearby Eliot Junior High. Some in the community aren't too happy with the plan.
With some students spending their entire middle grade years in temporary space, Huvendick said she fears the combined enrollment of the two schools could drop further during the consolidation. She said Janey should hold off on the closure of Hine until after the renovation of Eliot.

"Hine is a great place for an administration building, but it's also a great place for students," she said. "There's a strong outcry [from the Hine community] to stay."

Some education activists and school board members said the Hine issue highlights the need for a broad discussion on retaining middle grade students. The largest exodus of students into the public charter schools occurs between grades five and eight, reflecting the lack of high-quality junior high and middle schools, officials said.

"Is Hine a school that the community doesn't need or is it in need of an infusion of support to make it into the strong school it once was," said Margot Berkey, director of Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools, who is on a task force that is studying middle grade schools. "I don't want to see the regular public schools lose the middle grades to the charter system."

School board member Jeff Smith (District 1) supports moving the central office into a school building that is no longer needed for students, yet he is also concerned about the flight of middle school students to charter schools.

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