Some School Modernization News

Class room at the BMPV school after modernization.

Class room at the BMPV school after modernization.

On February 25, 2014, the Washington Post posted a brief article related to school modernization funding. They listed some winners and losers in the battle for school modernization funds with Roosevelt High School and Powell Elementary School high on the list of winners. The list of losers included the Bruce Monroe @ Park View Elementary school with a loss of $41,684.24 in modernization funding. The source of this news was a letter that Mayor Gray sent to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson requesting to reprogram $96, 868, 000 of Capital Funds Budget Authority and Allotment from the Department of General Services, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education to the Department of General Services.

In reading through the document, despite the large sums and the projects listed, I’m not thinking that this news or request is as dire as it sounds. In fact, this is exactly the type of document I would expect the Mayor to send to the Council as he’s working on his FY15 budget. Unless I’m misreading the letter to the Council, the Mayor appears to be seeking to use funds that had previously been set aside for other projects that are surplus or idle in order to complete other projects that were scheduled in FY14 (current fiscal year). In the case of Bruce Monroe @ Park View, this certainly seems to be the case as $41,000 is not a lot of money when it comes to modernizing a school, as each phase of the modernization should be significantly more than that. This suggests that maybe the money connected to BMPV that they Mayor is seeking to reprogram could, in fact, be a surplus remainder from the 2012 phase I modernization.

I’ve reached out to the Mayor’s Office requesting more clarification on this reprogramming of funds. If it is confirmed that this is nothing more than identifying stagnant pools of remaining funds from closed projects, I’m all for it … and it definitely makes a world of sense to reprogram these funds in advance of developing and announcing the FY15 budget.

I’ll let folks know if there is anything dire after I hear back from the Mayor’s office.

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