Charter Schools Scramble for Space

By Honawar, Vaishali | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 12, 2001 | Go to article overview

Charter Schools Scramble for Space


Honawar, Vaishali, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: Vaishali Honawar

****USABLE, SAFE BUILDINGS ARE HARD FOR D.C. CHARTER SCHOOLS TO FIND.****

A public charter school dedicated to teaching Hispanic youngsters in the District ran into a familiar roadblock as it prepared to open this year - it had no roof over its head.

Things were going smoothly for the Tri Community Public Charter School, with its attractive curriculum aimed at 400 Hispanic youngsters, until December, when the school's chairman, Elizabeth Smith, went shopping for a school building.

After five months of looking, she could not find anything that was safe and that wouldn't cost a fortune to repair. The building she did finally settle on, in the Petworth area of Northwest, was in terrible shape and in no state to move into by August, when schools would open.

"There was asbestos all over the place," she said. "The building had been used by a government agency, and it needed a lot of work," she said.

Now, she has to wait another year to open.

Tri Community's story is not new. It has been repeated year after year, ever since charter schools first opened in the District in 1996, with at least one school every year forced to delay opening because of space problems.

Some charter school advocates say the problem is aggravated because the city is ignoring its own law, which gives charter schools first crack at buying or leasing the hundreds of surplus buildings it controls. Instead, the city gives preference to businesses and builders looking to construct luxury condos. A number of buildings are also occupied free of charge by government agencies.

Usable, safe buildings are "a roadblock in the path of charter schools," said Robert Cane, executive director of Friends of Choice for Public Schools, a nonprofit advocacy group in the city. "There is no commitment on part of the city to find school buildings" for charter schools, he said.

He said parents have been "lining up" to enroll their children in charter schools, which are estimated to grow to 15 percent of the size of public schools this year, up from 13 percent last year.(spade)His group says it received 1,500 calls from parents last fall, frustrated because charter schools they wanted to send their children to were already full.

With the opening of four charter schools this fall, there were expected to be 37 charter schools on 42 sites in the city, with total enrollment between 11,000 and 12,000, up from 9,500 in the 2000-2001 academic year. Last week, however, the public schools' Board of Education began the process of revoking the charters to three schools, in a setback to the charter schools movement. The three schools are appealing charges of mismanagement, saying some of the problems they had last year were exaggerated or have been fixed.

Several of the city's charter schools are currently in temporary, make-do locations and will need to move into larger, permanent buildings soon because they add a higher grade level every year.

Nelson Smith, director of the Public Charter School Board, says the difficulty in finding permanent quarters can discourage potential applicants looking to open charter schools in the District. "If you look at the way people make decisions, that is one of the things they might think of," he said.

The board received just five applications from charter schools for the 2001-2002 school year, compared with 12 applications submitted last year. Mr. Smith said that the number of applications fluctuates from year after year, but that the annual, embarrassing hunt for good buildings could discourage enough would-be applicants.

Charter schools have been creative in finding buildings, he said. Many convert church basements into cheerful classroom spaces. One school, the Southeast Academy for Scholastic Excellence, which opened last year, gutted the inside of a grocery store and remodeled the space into classrooms, he said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Charter Schools Scramble for Space
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.