Housing Complex

Petworth Is the Big Winner as Gray Shuffles School Funds

Roosevelt High School is in need of a facelift.

Roosevelt High School is in need of a facelift.

In a cover story last month, I dove into the problems and promise of two schools in Petworth, one of the city's fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods: Roosevelt High School, which has seen some improvements but still posts dismal test scores and the lowest attendance of any neighborhood high school; and Powell Elementary School, a former struggling feeder into Roosevelt that's seen a surge in its reputation and success in the past few years. The key to recreating a flourishing academic environment in the neighborhood, some local advocates say, is to channel Powell's energy into Roosevelt—something that'll take strong leaders, attractive programs, better feeder patterns, and time.

But in the meantime, money doesn't hurt. The Washington Post's Emma Brown reports that Mayor Vince Gray is seeking to shift close to $100 million in school renovation funds. Some schools would see their renovations delayed under Gray's plan; Garrison Elementary in Logan Circle, for example, would lose more than $6 million this fiscal year and see the start of its modernization pushed back to 2015. But other schools would get a major boost. And none would benefit more than Powell and Roosevelt.

Powell, whose success has led to overenrollment, would be the biggest winner, gaining $19.6 million for its modernization. Roosevelt, where renovations are underway and should be completed next year, comes in second, with a $14.8 million increase. No other school is slated to gain more than $11.8 million.

Some Ward 4 residents have been frustrated that their two neighborhood high schools, Roosevelt and Coolidge, have gotten bumped to the end of the modernization list, behind every other D.C. neighborhood high school. The boost to Powell and Roosevelt, both in Ward 4, could bolster Ward 4 Councilmember and mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser, who's drawn criticism for the delayed renovation schedule at her ward's schools. Or it could be seen as a way for Gray to undercut Bowser in her own ward by providing for Petworth schools when she and the Council did not. In an election year, everything's grist for the campaign mill.

  • sbc

    so there is a newly in-demand elementary school, and it and the high school are going to be beautifully renovated. they're also on the same block as some in-demand charter schools and a lovely public library.

    so they closed the middle school that is on the same exact block, and they're going to spend who-knows-what to build a totally new middle school in Brookland.

    where is the vision?

  • Pingback: Morning Links - Loose Lips

  • Calvin H. Gurley

    Promised money can always be taken back and as usual re-directed to deficit holes in the D.C. fiscal budget. When those speculated revenues, that make up the Mayor’s budget, are not generated or realized then a frenzy money stealing spree is afoot in school renovations and D.C. Housing Trust Fund’s.

    I will believe it when the schools are completed built; we are holding our breath on Coolidge H.S.

    Calvin H. Gurley

  • http://CityPaper Carolyn A. Bowling


    We the parents at Payne Elementary School know how it feels to be placed on the back burners of receiving any services due to re appropriation of funds. Although we are located on "Capitol Hill" we at Payne are treated like the lost or forgotten ones of Ward 6. What or who determines what schools have to go on the chopping block or re-appropriation? We the people living in the last quadrant of Ward 6 are tired of being shifted. Noticed to all candidates this is an election year

  • Pingback: blue ofica