Friday, July 11, 2008

Barry introduces charter bill

Apparently taking a break from exposing the hidden dangers of fake grass Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry has introduced legislation that would require the District to sell or lease 21 of the recently closed school facilities to charter schools.
The bill, the “District of Columbia Public School Building Space Amendment Act of 2008” [B17-0847], would clarify that the 21 buildings are subject to the “right of first offer” on school buildings no longer needed by the school system that is given to the charter schools by the School Reform Act (SRA), D.C.’s charter school law. It also would require the mayor and DCPS chancellor to “develop a plan to market” each building to interested charter schools. It is assumed that the Fenty administration, which has publicly announced other plans for many of these buildings [see FOCUS D.C. Public Charter School Bulletin 6/9/08 and 6/23/08 at http://www.focusdc.org/news/news.asp], will oppose the legislation. In addition, other bills before the council would make it much more difficult for the mayor to dispose of surplus property, including former school buildings.
There is a slight hitch in the text of the legislation, however.
Another section of the bill would require the mayor to work with the chancellor to develop a plan to relocate DCPS central office staff to closed school buildings. This requirement appears to conflict with the charter school section of the bill, which specifies that the charters get first crack at any buildings not needed by DCPS for educational purposes.
You can find the text of the bill here (pdf file).

[From the FOCUS D.C. Public Charter School Bulletin]

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