Housing Complex

City Amends Rules for Charters to Take Over Vacant Schools

Back in June, Lydia wrote about D.C. charter schools' struggle to find classroom space. On the surface, conditions seemed favorable: Former Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration had closed 23 public schools, leaving what ought to have been ideal buildings for the charter schools to move into. But the byzantine process for procuring those buildings left the city's charter schools, which educate 41 percent of D.C.'s kids, with disproportionately little real estate.

Last week, Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said that a new round of school closures would be announced within a few weeks, increasing the urgency for an improved process for allowing charters to move in.

And city officials responded. The Post reports:

District officials have tweaked the way they determine which charter schools should be allowed to move into surplus public school buildings, an effort to address long-standing complaints that previous decisions were neither transparent nor always fair.

The new points-based system gives an edge to high-performing charter schools that are already operating in the city. But charters new to the District that have a record of raising student achievement elsewhere can also score well.

There's still room for controversy: The 125-point system includes a bonus for schools in neighborhoods considered to have a high need, based on a disputed study from earlier this year. We'll keep an eye on the new policy to see how well it's working.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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