Yes, today is August 25–and yes, meetings for the master facilities plan (MFP) are starting on Monday, August 27 (Anacostia library)–and are also on August 29 (Lamond-Riggs library) and August 30 (Mt. Pleasant library) as well. All start at 6:30 pm.
And no, you didn’t miss anything.
Just four days ago, notices started trickling out on these public engagement sessions for the MFP. Most of the outreach about these meetings via neighborhood listserves appeared to be in areas west of Rock Creek Park–and mainly through the agency of DCPS.
These three MFP sessions are being run by PAVE–which is an interesting choice for the deputy mayor for education (DME), who is actually responsible for the MFP. PAVE is a private advocacy organization that, until recently, has not been much involved in DCPS activities.
Back in June, in fact, I requested by FOIA a list of contracts and other links between the DME and PAVE–only to get no response (or acknowledgement of my request).
Since then (well, specifically on August 10, some 30 business days into my FOIA), I have been assured that a response is coming, so it will be interesting to see what PAVE has been paid to run these feedback sessions–and the terms. PAVE is promising $25 gift cards for attendees, along with childcare and dinner. Whose money is paying for that—and what are we getting for PAVE’s work?
Indeed, PAVE’s notice seemed a little squishy about what, exactly, is happening regarding public feedback on the MFP. I was emailed PAVE’s notice by Peter Estes, a PAVE organizer, and this is what it said in part (boldface mine):
“In addition to our parent leaders going out into the community to survey families about what is important to them and what is or isn’t working with our current school facilities, PAVE and DME will be hosting three in-person feedback sessions to inform parents and community members about the plan and to hear from YOU about what you’d like to see in our city’s school buildings moving forward.”
Um, so where and when are those PAVE parent leaders “going out into the community”? Which community? What are the guidelines those parent leaders were given to obtain feedback? And why is PAVE involved when we are paying DME staff to do just this?
Interestingly, also on Monday August 27, at 7 pm in the Cleveland Park library, the interim DME herself, Ahnna Smith, will be attending a meeting of the Ward 3 education council to talk about, among other things, the MFP.
So it seems that if you want to give feedback, and get information, on the MFP (see here for a feedback guide from the 21st Century School Fund), you need to get on it already this week: either meet with a private organization whose terms of operation are publicly unknown in this OR meet with the interim DME herself, whose office is actually responsible for the MFP–but only in Ward 3 and only on Monday night.
Seems our city’s consistent.