On November 19th, DCPS/DGS came to Maury ES to inform the community that a planned renovation would not move forward in FY16 and, instead, DCPS/DGS would begin planning for a major renovation and expansion of Maury ES that would occur as soon as FY17.
The conversations at Maury raised many questions.
First around funding. Will money be allocated for a Maury ES expansion in FY17 and if so how much? How can we determine a budget in time for FY17 when architects haven't been hired?
How will the increased spending at Maury impact promises made to other school communities? Questions that were a much discussed topic last spring.
Second around our public process.Does DCPS/DGS have the authority to make these sweeping changes without the approval of the City Council?
Should there be a public process to solicit input from the Maury Community? Should the broader community in the area be engaged? How would an expanded Maury impact neighboring elementary and middle schools?
For me the decision to delay the Maury ES expansion raised deeper questions about the goal of our School Modernization program. Is our goal simply to ensure "equity" in facilities as some advocate? Is our goal to eliminate inequities in the system? Is our goal to expand educational opportunities for at-risk or minority students at "in-demand" schools like Maury? Or is our goal something entirely different?
I don't pretend to know what the right path forward is. But, when we live in a city where only 25% of all students and only 14% of economically disadvantaged students in Grades 3-8 are “college and career ready” in ELA (24% and 15% in Math) shouldn’t we have discussions that “go well past just modernization”?
You can read the text of my letter to DCPS here.