Bowser Responds to ANC6A Parents Asking Restoration of School Budget Cuts
by Larry Janezich
Last Thursday night, concerned parents in ANC6A – some with children in tow – pleaded with Mayor Bowser to restore $12 million in cuts from her education budget, citing neighborhood schools without sprinkling systems, doors on class rooms that do not lock, outdated video monitoring systems and deplorable bathroom conditions. DC Board of Education Ward 6 representative Joe Weedon subsequently posted photos from Eliot Hine to Twitter to illustrate conditions.
Bowser replied that the city needs to finish modernization of schools which have already been started as well as construct new middle schools in Wards 5 and 7. She said, “The city cannot modernize all schools at once.” The question, she said, was one of priorities, with the top priority being to finish projects underway, then prioritize by utilization rate: “It can’t be ‘us not them’ – I don’t want the conversation to be about a tradeoff between schools. We have to worry about all wards, not just six.”
She said she would be truthful regarding what we can do with the schools – “We can’t put school funding in the budget only to have to shift it in October“ [the end of the fiscal year]. She implied that the final decision would be up to the City Council: “If City Council wants to move things around – I still would not support shifting money within the school system. Maybe we don’t want $50 million to go to parks and instead put that into schools.”
Yesterday, Bowser toured Elliot-Hine School, cited by parents as badly needing upgrades, with her Deputy Mayor for Education, Councilmember Charles Allen, and some of the parents who raised the modernization issue at last Thursday night’s meeting.