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Lew: Burroughs Will Be Ready

D.C. school facilities czar Allen Lew promised this afternoon that Burroughs Education Campus in Northeast will be ready for students Monday morning.

Burroughs parents charged today that the school is not habitable because of incomplete renovations. They reported dust and debris, tables and desks cluttering the halls, and classrooms with no working air conditioning.

In a statement, Lew said: "The Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization is aware that a few parents from Burroughs Elementary School are concerned about the final work being done at the school. Burroughs, Brent and Tubman Elementary schools are the first wave of Phase 1 modernization projects undertaken by OPEFM this summer. All DCPS schools, including the Phase One modernizations, will be completed in time for the first day of school Monday morning.

Our construction crews are putting the finishing touches on several projects and in most cases are doing deep cleaning of the facilities. Additionally, through an agreement with the DCPS and principals, teachers are today in their classrooms and will be allowed to earn overtime this weekend as they prepare for the first day of school.

This Phase 1 modernization is quite similar to last year's successful school consolidation effort. And, as was the case last year, all classrooms were ready in time for School Opening Day."

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  August 21, 2009; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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The school system has had all summer to complete these projects. There is NO EXCUSE for Burroughs to not be ready on time. So, in Rhee's school rheeform, she is no more ahead than anyone else ever was. It is now her administration where parents have brought it to media attention that the schools were not ready. Lew just put his "a few parents" spin on it. Truth be told, one parent seeing the school unprepared is too many!!

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 21, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, is it "finishing touches" or "a mess?"

It can't be both.

And when did this agreement to pay teachers overtime for hauling trash out of their rooms get signed?

I'd guess sometime after today's press conference.

At least people have figured out how to get things done - call a press conference. It works for the chancellor, it works for the schools -- as long as the parents do it. They haven't been discredited.

If the teachers complained, Rhee would call them a bunch of lazy-lout liars, then put them on the 90 plan and fire them.

Posted by: efavorite | August 21, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Rhee was on Fox news touting that schools were ready. Same as last year. she really thinks that parents are so stupid that they cannot see what is really going on. Teachers can't get in the classrooms and they are ready? What will happen is that they will go around the clock and what's left will be dealt with when the children return. The teachers are expected to be in the building all weekend. How professional! Once again teachers and administrators have to do the impossible to make it happen. What's also interesting is the "quiet" new round of firings in facilities. The firings are occurring all across the board. OK Mr. Turque here's a new lead.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 22, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Candycane, you are so on point. Mr. Turque, please look into how many other people were fired at facilities. It is Lew's responsibility to ensure that all schools are ready. He could do that if he was concentrating on schools. Once again people have been fired because the heads have not done what they are supposed to do.

However, teachers and administrators have ALWAYS been forced to be at school the entire weekend preceding the first day of school because of the Beautification day. There is always last minute work going on at schools for one reason or the other. There is no difference between Rhee and previous superintendents except she can get on the news as soon as she needs to use spin control. The sad part: she really does believe everyone around her is stupid and unable to see through her 'passionate' speeches, which are repeated rhetoric if you really listen. I'm surprised she was even in town to make the announcement.

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 22, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Candycane and southyrndiva - please don't be so cryptic

What do you mean by "firings in facilities" - principals in schools? What?

Posted by: efavorite | August 22, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm not being cryptic. My point is that it is not only teachers and principals getting the "boot". It's across the board. Approximately 2 weeks maybe three more central (vets of course) were let go and now facilities (not Lew's shop)has been hit as well. It's not going to stop. She has failed to negotiate any contracts and to that administration, that's license to do whatever. Do you really think she's trying to get a teacher's contract? That's why Parker's answer was so right on. " I trust Michelle to be who she is." The principal's contract is, "What's that?"and I'm sure the teamsters have a ticket and will stand in line as well. It's not reported but it just goes on.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 22, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

A good teacher should want to spend "all weekend" preparing for their first day of class.

I don't get where all the complaints are coming from. So it took some time to pull it all off, but lots of schools opened today with renovations. We should be happy to see an administration that cares about public schools, not griping over a few minor construction delays.

Shame on that Fenty and Rhee... renovating schools. How dare they!

Posted by: GetOuttaHere | August 25, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

@GetOuttaHere, its one thing to spend the weekend preparing your classroom that is already in place (ie Layfetty, Muirch, Janney). It's another to not have a floor in your classroom two days before schools open. Speaking from my own personal visit, Burroughs was a war-zone and in total chaos on Sunday. Sunday as in the day before Monday, the day before school started. As a teacher, how are you supposed to setup your room when you've got twenty workers still painting, looking for chairs and wiring hanging from the ceiling. They had all summer to get the job done and waited until the eleventh hours to work on Burroughs. So how dare you act like this is the teachers and students fault. How dare you think that it's okay to send kids to school and not be ready for them. What message does it send? Hmmmm that Fenty and Rhee sure don’t care about your school since you’re not west of the park.

Posted by: RUSerious1 | August 26, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

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