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No plan to move Ellington, until there is

The key players in the recent flap over the future of Duke Ellington School of the Arts have issued a joint communique, essentially reaffirming what Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said last week: there are no plans to move the school out of Georgetown until it gets its own state-of-the-art building.

The letter, dated Jan. 26 and addressed to Ellington students, parents and faculty, grew out of Rhee's meeting last Friday with members of the school's governing board, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project (DESAP). It is signed by Rhee, outgoing DESAP president Michaele Christian, head of school Rory Pullens and co-founder Peggy Cooper Cafritz.

"Both the Chancellor and the mayor are committed in the long term to a state of the art facility for Ellington, as well as the full engagement of the Ellington community in a transparent planning process," the letter states. "The more immediate focus will be on a renovation of the school in 2012, though if major funds are identified for a new facility in the shorter term, the renovation effort may be modified."

The letter does not explain explain that last dangling modifier. It could mean that the if the District can finance a new building--at an estimated cost of more than $80 million--Ellington might be renovated in 2012 as a general neighborhood high school, per the long-time wishes of Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2).

In any event, the signatories promise that all stakeholders will be kept in the loop, which was not the case when it came to the drafting of plans for Ellington's possible relocation to a surplus school building near Union Station, as disclosed by The Post on Jan. 17.

"Going forward, we pledge to provide the Ellington community with direct and accurate information on these matters."
Full text below:

January 26, 2010

Dear Ellington students, faculty members, parents and families:

Despite what you may have heard recently in the news media, all of us signed below want you to hear directly from us that there are no plans to move the Duke Ellington School of the Arts until it moves into its own state of the art facility.

Representatives of the DESAP Board met with Chancellor Rhee last Friday and we had a detailed discussion about the plans and process that will occur with regard to the renovation or relocation of Ellington. Both the Chancellor and the Mayor are committed in the long term to a state of the art facility for Ellington, as well as the full engagement of the Ellington community in a transparent planning process. The more immediate focus will be on a renovation of the school in 2012, though if major funds are identified for a new facility in the shorter term, the renovation effort may be modified.

In the case of both renovation and relocation, Ellington representatives will participate fully in the planning process. Typically, this involves the work of two ongoing community committees: the Program Advisory Team focuses on program needs and the School Improvement Team focuses on the nuts and bolts of planning and construction.

As Chancellor of DCPS, representatives of the DESAP Board, and Head of School at Ellington, we have discussed these issues at length. We all are committed to providing a state of the art facility for Ellington in the long term, understanding that currently DCPS is not able to provide the necessary resources for a new facility. Going forward, we pledge to provide the Ellington community with direct and accurate information on these matters.

By Bill Turque  |  January 29, 2010; 1:21 PM ET
 
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Comments

It's nice to read about people working together for the children.

Posted by: edlharris | January 29, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The Ellington community? So if a state of the arts facility is built the Ellington community might move? Did I interpret that correctly? If I did, then obviously there must be some idea of a site. Any clues anybody?

Posted by: candycane1 | January 29, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't have any clues, but I'm sick of reading Washington Post reviews and stories riddled with grammatical errors and typos...

Posted by: rasheeedj | January 30, 2010 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Of course, that "dangling modifier" might also mean that if money is soon found for a new arts high school, then the current building in Georgetown could be converted to a giant space ark to ferry Mayor Fenty and his family to the newly discovered planet Triathlona.

Posted by: gardyloo | January 30, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I think the money is there. Just give the Mayor a moment to figure out how to move it into the school's construction fund without the Council's approval.

Posted by: shank2sb | January 30, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

A new site for the school if southeast was a consideration it would be on the campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital . Moreso...if one would like a northeast location you could tear down the Florida Avenue Market and with the late breaking news about Spingarn...what about that area. You have the trolley system being installed on Benning Road. No immediate neighborhood infringing on parking in the residential area surrounding Spingarn.

A developmental plan of having a elementary, middle-school and then a high-school all engaging into performing arts all located on a campus like setting. I can see the moving vans of whites moving to the District as we speak...all the school amenities just in walking distances from their homes.

Therefore you can actually have Western return back to Georgetown...which would be a excellent counterpart to Eastern on Capitol Hill. Okay, let's go crazy and have Cardozo return back to Central High School...those were the good old days.

Posted by: PowerandPride | February 2, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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