And the Holiday Gifts Of DC Real Estate Keep Coming . . .

So today our city council is voting (has already voted?) on a wide variety of so-called “emergency” legislation–the vast majority of which appears to be, erm, not exactly an emergency.

(Well, unless you consider a snowfall measurement site and the recognition of individuals urgent matters.)

But in the pile of sausage meat that councilmembers have created to make their legislative sausages before year’s end, David Grosso, chair of the council’s education committee, put forth emergency legislation to extend the lease that the Lab School already has on a closed DCPS school, the old Hardy building at 1550 Foxhall NW.

(Yeah, that’s a different address than what’s listed in the legislation–but it appears to actually be the correct address.)

Anyhow, Grosso’s proposed legislation makes clear that the Lab School wishes to make improvements in the building and doesn’t feel that the 7 years it has left on its lease is sufficiently long enough to make those investments worth it. Fair enough.

But the legislation aims to extend that lease for 50 years–and right now (as in, like, this moment you are reading this or several hours ago).

Such a lengthy lease would ensure the school will likely never be re-opened as a DCPS school. Given the notoriously overcrowded DCPS schools of Ward 3, this seems rather short-sighted. After all, many of those DCPS schools have received very expense renovations–with some essentially growing out of their renovated spaces shortly thereafter due to overcrowding.

Whatever recourse this building might have had for any of those schools appears to be very quickly closing off–if it has not closed off already.

Now, the last I knew, January 1 was coming in a matter of days, not 7 years. Granted, right now, it may feel like 7 years until New Year’s–but really, it’s just days away.

So why make giving the Lab School a gift of a DCPS school an “emergency” when the school has another 7 YEARS on its lease? Can’t this matter be handled with less sweaty palms at another time, when we are not in the middle of holiday rushes and when we have more than, um, 4 days to consider the matter and be deliberate and strategic and all those lovely things that we say we do with our public education planning in DC?

Apparently not.

This legislation appears to have been introduced on December 15–at least according to the council calendar. I didn’t even know about it until this morning, when I saw an email from Ruth Wattenberg, the SBOE Ward 3 member, who emailed a broad group last night about it–and who clearly knew nothing about the legislation ahead of time, either.

Hmm: They say it’s the season of giving–too bad we didn’t have any details ahead of time for a gift being quickly given in our names and with our money and without time to comment.

Soo, if you wish to register your (anticipatory or late) disapproval for yet another (real estate) gift at the expense of DC taxpayers or educational planning or plain and simple democracy, give our city council the gift of your voice this holiday season:

Oh, and if you have a moment, try the mayor, too:


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