Ballou HS. Image from DCPS.

All middle and high schools that still need modernizing will get done in the next 6 years, under the budget Mayor Gray is releasing today, and some of the most out-of-date elementary school buildings.

The capital plan has $465 million to modernize high schools, starting with $162 million in Fiscal Year 2014. The money will finish modernizations for the remaining high schools: Ballou, Dunbar, Ellington, and Roosevelt. It also funds the planning, design, and construction for a “Spingarn Career & Technical Education Center” which the administration plans to open in the fall of 2014 at Spingarn High School, which is the only high school closing in the current round.

Middle schools get $242 million over 6 years, with $69 million in FY 2014. That will fund building a middle school in Brookland and renovating the closed Shaw building, as well as modernizing all remaining middle schools such as Stuart-Hobson.

$920.5 million ($128 million in FY 2014) goes to elementary schools, to modernize more schools such as Janney and Langdon. Hearst and Mann, which don’t have cafeterias, will get them as part of modernization projects. Shepherd Elementary gets funding for the extra recommendations that came up during its modernization process.

Libraries and librarians

As already announced, Gray’s budget increases education funding by $80 million. It matches the level we already saw in the budget allocations, meaning that the threshold for small schools will indeed increase and some schools will see less funding for librarians and other positions.

However, Gray is expanding funding for DC Public Libraries so that every library can be open 7 days a week. Most will be open until 9 pm Monday to Thursday as well as afternoons on Saturday and Sunday. They also get $2 million for books and e-books.

Further, the budget provides $103 million to renovate and, as part of a public-private partnership, expand the MLK Library. There is $15.2 million to renovate the Cleveland Park library, $21.7 for the Palisades library, and $4.8 million for Woodridge’s library.

Charter schools, special education, and more

DC will provide $7.4 million more for charter school facilities. Each charter gets $3,000 per student per year to pay for their buildings, but $200 of that is currently federal money; DC is bumping up its local contribution to the full $3,000.

In addition, the budget provides $4.3 million in FY 2013 and $6.4 million in FY 2014 for special education early intervention, which helps many children avoid developing ongoing special needs; $1.8 million for early learning centers; $1 million for truancy programs; and $1.7 million more for UDC.

Some of this funding comes from savings DC has enjoyed from reducing the number of special education children who are getting education outside of DC. If the District doesn’t have educational facilities for special needs, it has to pay to send the students elsewhere, at great cost; according to Gray’s chief of staff Chris Murphy, this has declined from $168 million per year when he took office to about $30 million, largely thanks to capacity at DCPS and charters to serve these children.

We will have more on the education budget in coming weeks.