Hardy pinched in new DCPS budget

Photo by The Georgetown Dish
Schools honcho Kaya Henderson, flanked by former Mayor Adrian Fenty and Mayor Vincent Gray
Schools honcho Kaya Henderson, flanked by former Mayor Adrian Fenty and Mayor Vincent Gray

Hardy Middle School is slated to receive a meager 1.8% budget increase for the coming school year, while Hyde-Addison Elementary will gain 18.3%.  The Georgetown schools fared better than some schools across the District, several losing more than 20%.  "Acting" Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson will defend these variations – some would say inequities – in the D.C. public schools’ budgets to parents next Monday at Eastern High School.  But today she faces the Council to explain and schools' performance over the past year.

Kaya Henderson (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Kaya Henderson
Henderson came closer to being D.C.’s permanent public schools chancellor Wednesday when Mayor Vincent Gray announced that she is the choice of his nominating committee. "I've seen firsthand that she is a person with compassion, a person with drive, a person with wisdom and a person who focuses on results," Gray said.  Henderson now will be presented to the Council for confirmation.

Gray has backed away from his campaign-trail criticism of decisionmaking associated with Henderson, including DCPS's removal of Hardy Principal Patrick Pope, and the so called IMPACT evaluation system to rate teachers developed by previous Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

IMPACT, "the centerpiece of Rhee's reform efforts," according to the Washington Post, uses five 30-minute classroom observations to rate a teacher across a set of nine standards. The Washington Teachers' Union has called IMPACT a punitive tool for removing teachers rather than a means to help strengthen them.

Differing sharply with Henderson on some issues, Councilmember Jack Evans recently introduced legislation to reinstate Pope at Hardy, a measure that has received strong support from Georgetown ANC Commissioners. Councilmembers Michael Brown (At-Large) and Harry Thomas Jr. (Ward 5) also signed on as co-sponsors.

Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) said she does not support Evans' legislation but is critical of ongoing turmoil at Hardy. "The Chancellor has to repond to the community," Cheh told The Georgetown Dish. "If her responses are inadequate, the Mayor should step in. Maybe [Hardy] is one of those cases."

 

 

0 Comments For This Article

Anonymous

The "ongoing" turmoil at Hardy barely describes the real chaos in the lives of students and teachers during this year. The acting "dean" of students, who arrived at Hardy a week ago from out of the blue, has left and the remaining four administrators still flounder.
The real question of the future of this once "jewel of DCPS" is most pressing. With an interim principal who is counting down the days until he can leave, who will be making the important decisions about staffing and programming for the coming year?
The school community has been ignored for a year and a half. The knee-jerk decisions made by the acting Chancellor have only worsened the condition at each step. The school is still in free fall. Is this what Michelle Rhee meant by "turning" Hardy?

Anonymous

I find it interesting that Ms. Henderson was the choice from Mayor Gray's Nominating Committee. What the Mayor fails to disclose is that the "Nominating Committee" was only given ONE resume...that of Ms. Henderson. How can he possibly say that we have the best person for the job when no one else was even considered? I can only hope that the Council exposes this fraud and disservice done by the Mayor.

Peter Eisler

Budget figures can be misleading when reported out of context, and that is the case with this story's suggestion that Hyde-Addison Elementary School in Georgetown is getting a big funding increase while other DC public schools struggle.

Yes, next year's Hyde-Addison budget is slated to grow 18.3% percent next year, but that is only because the school projects a growth of more than 21% in the size of its student body, to 315 students. Hyde-Addison is in the final phases of popluating a new building that has allowed the school's enrollment to grow substantially.

In fact, the per pupil funding for Hyde-Addison in the proposed DCPS budget for next year would be cut by nearly 2.5%.

These are tough budget times and the tightened funding has required difficult decisions. But with the support and commitment of our great faculty, our parents and our community, we have maintained our robust educational program.

Sincerely,

Peter Eisler, parent and chairman
Hyde-Addison Local School Advisory Team

Tina Nadler

It is unclear to me why The Dish continues to have such an extremely negative and slanted view regarding issues at both Hyde AND Hardy. It's pretty irresponsible for a neighborhood paper that is in a position to influence the community to continue the negative banter and not support these schools. The Dish should applaud DCPS and Georgetowners for finally giving their local schools the support they need.
Tina Nadler
Parent of two Hyde-Addison Students

Anonymous1

Okay Beth, you assert that the Hardy Interim Principal "is counting down the days until he can leave." If you know anything about Mr, Shea, which you apparently do not, you would not make that kind of negative statement about him. In fact, Mr. Shea is a talented and devoted educator who does not simply mark his time until he can leave his assignment. Shame on you for that off-handed innacurate nasty comment. Also shame on you for not putting the differences between the funding changes into the proper context as Mr. Eisler did for us in the comment above. Let's do our homework before doing our reporting next time.

Susan Mettler

Thank you to Peter Eisler for correcting the facts in this article. I'm dismayed that the Dish didn't do more research, and discover the truth behind the DCPS 2011-2012 budget allocations. The Dish, as a prominent Georgetown media outlet, should support our local public schools. They're an important part of our community, and every community needs strong schools, including ours.

Susan Mettler, parent and PTA member
Hyde-Addison Elementary School

Beth Solomon

No question, Hyde-Addison is a Georgetown asset and an exciting, well-regarded school. While the 18.3% percent budget increase for next year will support the 55 new students projected to enroll in the fall, kids at Hyde-Addison deserve this funding and much more if needed.

We also understand that DCPS, on its own website, provides budgets that display unexplained decision points in which some schools with similar enrollment changes receive less. Here are a few examples:

Brent ES
Increase in enrollment: 54
Per Pupil funding : $9,907
Budget increase: 8.1%

HD Cooke ES
Increase in enrollment: 83
Per Pupil funding : $11,658
Budget increase: 7.9%

Maury ES
Increase in enrollment: 52
Per Pupil funding : $9,577
Budget increase: 8.6%

Hardy MS
Increase in enrollment: 42
Per Pupil funding : $8,401
Budget increase: 1.8%

These numbers beg for scrutiny and watchful oversight by legislators and parents. Perhaps Mayor Gray will explain Monday evening at Eastern HS when he discusses the all-important DCPS budget.

Eric Woods

The Dish has been, and continues to be, very credible in its reporting about Georgetown schools -- Hardy in particular. The fact that the articles are providing a negative, but realistic, portrait of what's taking place at Hardy demonstrates that The Dish is vitally supportive of Georgetown schools and their need for attention and improvement! Readers need to get their head out of the sand and recognize that what their labeling as "negative banter" or "slanted" is really a call to action to address unacceptable management of our schools and our children in them.