The general message from DGS is that DCPS has released the building and any charter schools that are interested in using it have until August 30th to file an application. While I was told in the past that there were no charter schools interested it seems that now there are including some Montessori schools. The first rights for the building go to a charter school. I know that there are quite a few families with young children (or children on the way) in the neighborhood that would love to be able to walk their children to a Montessori school. In fact some neighbors have moved because of the lack of quality schools in our neighborhood. While there is a whole separate debate about charter schools and what they mean for our school system I do not feel the need to engage in that and simply want to support what is best for our community. A great school that we can walk to would be a terrific amenity. That said the push should be to get a great school and then to ensure that there is a neighborhood priority for enrollment. It does us no good to get a great new charter school and then be unable to get neighborhood children enrolled in it!!
There was also a lot of loud opposition to a charter school and talk of use of the building for a recreation center. The idea of making a community center (one that I have been advocating for over the years) out of the building that includes DPR use as well as nonprofit use and programming would be a community amenity whose value would be immense if run properly. But if that cannot be done as there may be a new school going into the school building then the community needs to come together and demand that we still get an improved recreation center and programming. There is no reason that we cannot have both a great school and a new recreation center. The land use for the Edgewood neighborhood is poorly designed and maintained with proper planning we could keep our outdoor space and create a new recreation center with indoor space as well. Within the past five years there was $14-15 million in the DC budget to do just that but that money was moved to another community. We need to fight to get the money back in the budget and create the space that can be enjoyed by all ages.
I did hear the people in the front of the meeting say they need to hear from the community about what we want- my thoughts on this is that they are just not listening!! For years many different people and groups, myself included, have been advocating for improved recreational facilities and programming in the Edgewood neighborhood and it is time the city takes action!
Please contact CM McDuffie and ensure that he is taking action and supporting our needs! He needs to be a leader on this issue!