(Screen shot of video provided by DC office of cable television, DC council channel on demand)
This picture, of deputy mayor for education Jennifer Niles, is from hour two, minute 24 (2:24:02) of a video of a July 11 hearing held by the education committee of the city council, on proposed legislation to rework the master facilities plan for schools (Planning Actively for Comprehensive Education Facilities act, B21-777).
This picture marks nearly 10 seconds in which the deputy mayor sat, silent, in response to the question in the title of this blog post.
A minute before this, the chair of the committee, David Grosso, noted that DC law requires DGS–the city agency in charge of all public buildings–to perform an annual condition assessment of all public school buildings, both charter and DCPS, for the purpose of better facilities planning and use.
Right now, however, no DC charter school has had such an assessment.
Rather, charter schools self-assess their conditions and capacities via a survey provided by the charter school board. Such self-assessments have been used by the deputy mayor for education to determine school utilizations (check out the “fact sheets” at this link).
Even though the ramifications of such different assessments can be severe, Grosso’s question to the deputy mayor–“How does that [self-surveying] comply with the law?”–was never answered.
Grosso then asked the question of Scott Pearson, the executive director of the DC charter school board.
“This was taking place right as I started in this job [in January 2012], so honestly, I wasn’t aware of the legal requirement.”
The hearing was 4 years and 7 months into Pearson’s tenure as the head of the charter board.