DCPS v DCPCS

Views from Dunbar High School

So one night I decided to test my spouse, the Help, about schools in DC. Sadly, despite all our conversations about schools, we were not in agreement about the nature of schools and our choices.

I created this table for the Help, maybe it will help you too.

 

DC Public School (DCPS) DC Public Charter School (DCPCS)
Free to DC students Free to DC students
DC Government owned buildings Mix (former DCPS buildings, rented commercial space, etc) and locations can change
Available to in boundary K-12 students. Out of boundary & Pre-K must enter My Schools DC Lottery New students must enter My Schools DC Lottery regardless of address
Has wait lists for popular schools Has wait lists for popular schools
Aftercare costs $850.50 for 2018-2019. Before care availability varies. Many have before and after care. Costs on a sliding scale.
More than 1/2 of students are in the DCPS system 47.5% of students are in DC charter schools
Quality varies by school Quality varies by school
State Board of Education members are elected DC Charter School Board members are nominated by Mayor

 

Baltimore City level of Historic Districts- When you have too many

DC has too many historic districts (HD) and just recently got one more as Bloomingdale fell to this sad fate of HD collecting. So about 1 in 5 DC properties is some historic something or another. DC is on its way to becoming like our sister city Baltimore where some historic districts are respected and others, kinda ignored, making the designation meaningless. Maybe it needs to be made meaningless.

mAP OF bALTIMORE cITY hISTORIC dISTRICTSSo I own a small rental in Baltimore which happens to be in a historic district and the neighborhood is listed with the National Register of Historic Places. Historic districts in Baltimore are a different animal than the HDs in DC from what I observed. When I had a local charm city architect over, I mentioned the vinyl window I had in my house and the other vinyl windows I saw in the neighborhood. He said, “Yeah, they’re not supposed to do that but….” and he shrugged and we moved on to other topics.

Baltimore has over 60 historic districts, DC has over 30. The Baltimore Sun supposed that 1 in 3 buildings was listed on the National Register. I have no idea how many of those include abandoned shells. Baltimore also has a local tax incentive to get homeowners on board, but the logic in how it applies confuse me. There are newish condos just outside the district’s boundaries that advertised the 10 year tax credit. Of course there is a lot in Baltimore where the logic of how they apply a lot of things confuse me.

I wonder if the trend to add more and more historic districts will create an environment where the original intents will be undermined because it brings in too many unwilling participants, thin supporters and stretch the resources of the enforcers. Maybe. We’ll see.

The problem with affordable housing on weaker neighborhoods

If you haven’t read Congress Heights on the Rise’s (CHotR) blog, please do. The author, Ms. Peele is telling some serious truths about the problem of affordable housing in her neighborhood. It is not the same problem of affordable housing experienced in NW, the problem is there is a little too much affordable housing and not enough market housing.

One of the post’s “Why investing ONLY in income-capped housing in Ward 8 is setting us up for failure,” can be summed up as affordable housing needs to be spread around more equally across all 8 wards and not concentrated East of the River (EotR). She points out that the majority of the available apartments for rent in her area are income capped, which means a single person making $51,000 cannot rent an apartment there, and forget about a married couple. Without those sort of renters, that middle class contingent, the urban amenities that make DC fun are in short supply in her neighborhood, and she has to drive elsewhere for fitness and food.

Continuing in another post “MORE OF THE SAME: 7 more income-capped housing projects planned for Ward 8,” she is obviously frustrated with the DC government’s (DHCD) housing policy of more income capped housing. This sort of policy keeps out the kind of residents who could support the businesses (and jobs) she wants and provide the kind of role models kids in the neighborhood need. The income limits keeps out nurses, police officers, teachers, and most other professionals. Many of the income limit apartment buildings are at 50% MFI/AMI (Median Family Income/ Area Median Income) so a single person cannot make more than $41,050. The starting salary for a DCPS teacher is supposed to be $55, 209, and the starting salary for a MPD police officer is $55,362. It would have to be at 80% MFI/AMI for a single income teacher or police officer. Logically, if you had a married couple (the cop married to a teacher) they would blow past the $46,900 50% MFI/ $76,000 80% MFI limits for a household of two, and three.

Aren’t we just repeating the mistakes of the past with new packaging? Concentrating poverty is destructive, cruel and wrong. We, as a city, have done it before with public housing and created environments of unemployment, crime, death and dysfunction.

Will Buy Your House For CA$H

It was something from a DCist post about the Hillcrest neighborhood I noticed. It seems the people of Hillcrest have been peppered with offers to sell their homes to developers. If those offers come in the form of post cards and yellow letters like the ones below, they aren’t special. I get these offers almost every week. Sometimes I get phone calls.

I have two rentals, bought for the price of a new car, in addition to our primary home. So every week, I will get some letter or postcard asking if I want to sell. These things are called yellow letters. Note, they are yellow. They come from people looking to buy houses for developer investors. Most are not a scam, but they aren’t going to offer you the amount of money you’d probably get if you were to sell with a Realtor. They are for people who want to sell a house quickly without doing anything (fixing things).

I don’t feel pestered by these mail in inquires. They are like any other service being offered that I don’t want. Don’t want a credit card. Don’t want your cable package. When it is an offer on my primary residence, I do feel slightly insulted, because, yes, the outside could use some sprucing up. I think they figured I’d want to sell because I haven’t gotten to fixing some things. Those things are on the 2019 docket of expensive house crap to do. I replaced the roof this year so the 2018 budget is blown.

So say you’ve gotten several of these yellow letters, what do you do? Are they serious offers? Well if you have no desire to sell, toss them in recycling and give it nary a thought. If you’re thinking about selling, but you want top dollar and you have time and are willing to repair and repaint, toss them in the recycling bin and hire a Realtor. But if you just want to get rid of it (bad tenants, repairs you can’t afford, desperately need to fund your mother in law’s stay in a nursing home) sure give the number on the letter or post card you got a call. Just be aware you’re going to be offered a price below market.  It doesn’t matter that the house next door to you sold for a million dollars, the people offering to buy your house are not going to offer a million dollars.

Please ID A ‘Person of Interest’ Regarding Armed-Gun Robbery

So this person, is wanted as a person of interest. The DC Police tweeted on July 20th a report of an armed robbery at the Unit block of Florida Ave NW, in Truxton Circle.

So here is the video of a person of interest related to that robbery at a chicken place on H St NE, buying what I gather is chicken.

If you can figure out who this person is, contact MPD by calling 911 (I guess since they don’t give any other number to reach them). You might just get one more idiot with a gun, who shouldn’t have a gun, off the streets.

Countdown to the Community Health Fair Sunday July 29th- CPR “Staying Alive”

So three Truxton Circle houses of worship, Masjid Muhammad, Mt. Sinai, and the hosts Fourth Street Friendship 7th Day Adventist are all getting together to promote health with topics covering teen depression and suicide, diabetes, and screenings. This will happen on this coming Sunday at 1611 4th St NW.

One of those things will be a nice little review (well a review for me since I’ve taken CPR classes) of CPR. This will take place in the Above Dining Hall at 1:30 and 3:30. Part one will be calling 911 with Shuron Abdullah M.Ed, MS, HCM, RRT. Part 2 in two parts with CPR Instructors “Push hard and fast” with Romone Watkins, and “Stayin’ Alive” with Danny Rosette. Get your hands on a dummy and possibly come to the rescue of a relative, friend or co-worker.

Package Thieves Are Horrible People

They are horrible people because they don’t seem to care that they are captured by home cameras. I have said on several occasions there should be a YouTube channel just of package thieves thieving in the District of Columbia. However, I probably wouldn’t watch it because I’m really sick and tired of seeing people in my ethnic group stealing packages from steps and porches.

So here’s a photo of a guy who stole a package from my block last week.

I don’t know if he’s the same thief who stole a few other packages that same week from another house on our block, because that camera was too high up and the thief’s baseball cap hid his face. This camera getting a decent view of this jerk’s face was one of those doorbell cameras… which is great if you have a working doorbell.

Package thieves are horrible low scummy people because many times they don’t want what they stole. You ordered a medicine ball, and some a-hole stole it from your stoop, then they tossed it in the trash. Or worse, your mother crocheted a baby blanket for your new child, and a dumb donkey swiped it off your porch and they threw it in a treebox when they realized it had no street value.

Yes, I know the Amazon Locker Kelin at the 7-11 doesn’t take everything, there are no Etsy lockers, and you may not have a relationship with someone who lives in a building with a desk clerk or cool with a local business who can take your package. You may be like me and you can’t get packages at work, so what to do? I use a mix of sending things to my spouses’ workplace, sending things to a stay/work at home or retired relative/ friend/ former co-worker, the Amazon storefront in College Park, and sending small items that should fit in my mailbox to my home.

This is what I’d like in explaining Affordable Housing

So I was bopping around the YouTubies as I normally do and decided after the question of what foods are great for baby led weaning, I decided to ask, what is affordable housing. I know what is affordable housing, well its technical definition for DC. But what does it mean in real life for tenants?

Although not for DC (New York City, different animal) I came across this from a fitness Youtuber Imani Shakir.

I love how she talks about her experience with the system and how it works there.  Just going by her video this is what I learned: You need an on-line housing profile; don’t apply for everything, just apply to the buildings where you qualify; Your chances are better if you pick a building in your area; You need to respond quickly and have accurate contact info; You may need letters from your current and former bosses in addition to pay stubs as some of your application documentation when asked. You might have less than 2 weeks to get those documents together; and the biggest take away, it may take years to get an affordable unit. In her case it was 3 years.

We normally hear about affordable housing from politicians, activists, and administrators, but almost never from recent applicants and recipients of affordable housing.

So the schools question- We lucked out no reason to move, now

Yeah, Babyman is less than a year old and I’ve got the next 17 years planned. But you know what they say about plans.

We will be playing the DC School Lottery in 2 years. I’ve got my first choice in mind, even though Babyman has a better chance of getting into Harvard than Mundo Verde.  So what if he doesn’t get into Mundo Verde, it would not be the end of the world because we happen to be in the boundary for Seaton Elementary, which isn’t that bad.

Actually, it is a bit better than the first elementary school I attended. I looked up my old elementary schools (yes, schools) using Great Schools. GS may have its faults but it allows me to compare my nieces and nephews schools with DC schools. Being in DC can warp ones view of things. My other elementary schools have transformed in the (mumble) forty some odd years since I’ve attended. One is a magnet school the other is some sort of community center. My old elementary school scored 4 out of 10, only because it rated highly on race (34% black, 34% white) everything else was 2 out of 10. The former all black elementary school I attended, which is now a magnet school, scored 10 of 10. Racially it is now 15% black, 62% white, 12% Hispanic, and that’s also rated 10 of 10. Students scored 97%-100% proficiency in math and english tests.

Seaton compared to Munde Verde, if you were just going by test scores (Seaton -math 47%, ELA 31%, Mundo Verde math 42%, ELA 44%) are close enough. I’m attracted to Mundo Verde’s bilingual programming and yes, its proximity to my house. Looking at the 2018-2019 waitlist data, the 1,702 long waitlist is, something to keep in mind. The only problem with Seaton, for my needs as a parent, is the lack of a before school program. Munde Verde has before and after care programs.

We really won’t know what his educational needs are until he gets older. Right now his interaction with books involves trying to eat them. He’s giving off a mechanical engineer vibe, in that he seems like he wants to know how things work…. and then he tries to eat whatever it is.

So our in boundary school is acceptable enough that it doesn’t warrant moving out if we don’t get our desired lottery choices. If the boundary changes, then yes, we’d have to consider other options if we don’t get our preferred school. You know what’s cheaper than daycare for a baby? Pre-K Catholic school, and that’s an option.

Don’t drink outta the tap! Water Advisory for Friday the 13th

Okay I thought Babyman’s Exorcist-esque event had something to do with a new food I let him try… lemons are cool, that quick pickle, not so much. Now I think it might have something to do with the water advisory. The DC Water site is down, but the local NBC affiliate has an interactive map.

Truxton Circle is in the area of concern.