Via Charles Allen
, news that is music to the ears of the parents who have been hoping for a reopening of Van Ness Elementary School at 5th and M, shuttered since 2006
: on Thursday, the DC Council's Committee on Education approved the DC Public Schools budget, and it includes $9.8 million for modernization, which is "consistent" with a plan to reopen Van Ness for the 2015-16 school year.
In a letter shared with the "Parents on the Capitol Riverfront" mailing list, DCPS's COO Anthony deGuzman described what will come under this plan: "The Phase 1 modernization focuses capital funds on renovating academic spaces (classrooms) where we upgrade lighting, acoustics, technology, ergonomics/furnishings, and climate/air quality. Additionally front entrances, front offices, corridors, and student restrooms are targeted. Other building upgrades are evaluated on an as needed basis."
The letter goes on to say that the community will be asked to be involved in the planning process along with school administrators and staff, on a team called the School Improvement Team, which will be "formally convened just prior to when the funding will be available which is this case would be towards the end of the summer of 2014." deGuzman also says that the SIT has a "great deal of influence over priorities, aesthetics and whether the design is meeting the programmatic needs of the school."
Neighborhood parents have been working since 2010
to get the school reopened--you can read more about what's been going on during Van Ness's years in the wilderness in my previous blog posts