Members of the Board,
The People’s Alliance Education Action Team urges the BOE to wait to approve the new proposed academic application programs and elementary school boundaries. We believe the regional model presented to the Board has many strengths, including a clear focus on equity and efficiency. The 30+% mileage reduction is no small feat, and we know parents and children will appreciate shorter bus rides. We also appreciate the increased access to magnet programs, especially in currently under-served communities such as the Eastern Region which has no magnet programs at the moment.
However, we believe the model still needs the following adjustments before approval is appropriate:
- Consider moving one of the district-wide magnets to the Eastern Region to improve equity.
- Target engagement with stakeholders in school communities that are losing existing special programs, even if alternate programming has been proposed for those schools (R.N. Harris, Bethesda, Lakewood, W.G. Pearson, and Club Boulevard).
- Develop and release a detailed legacy policy so parents understand how each of their children will be affected.
- Analyze costs associated with continuing special programs at R.N. Harris, Bethesda, and Lakewood if communities express a desire to do so.
- Clarify how the new regional approach to programming will coexist with the community schools model that has been successful in two highly impacted schools (Club Boulevard and Lakewood).
While we believe the proposed regional map is a good starting point, addressing the above concerns might require some tweaking of the map to prevent overcrowding at some schools and under enrollment at others. Because of this, we ask the Board to delay voting on this proposal until no later than October 2022 to maintain the current implementation timeline.
We appreciate the effort and expertise of the talented DPS staff who developed the Growing Together initiative. We share their vision of a more efficient and equitable school system for all children in Durham. Regardless of timeline, we urge the Board to consider the above pressing issues before implementing the current plan.
Vanessa Barnett-Loro and Jenny Jones Coldren
on behalf of the People's Alliance Education Action Team
On the 35th Anniversary of Durham’s Gay Pride/Recall Victory
Celeste Cornelius with Mab Segrest
On June 25, 1986, a flyer was distributed around Durham that read in bold print at the top of the page “JUSTICE FOR ALL” with only a thin black line separating the words “DON’T SIGN THE PETITION!” At the bottom of the page, it read “NO RECALL!”
Although the flyer announced Durham Citizens for Responsible Leadership as the ad-hoc coalition that mounted this campaign, the P.O. BOX and address were those of the People’s Alliance. This piece from the archives of the People’s Alliance shows the role that People’s Alliance played in one of the earliest and most important battles for gay and lesbian rights in the history of Durham, as I discussed with PA Board Member Mab Segrest this week.
The People's Alliance submitted the following statement as public comment for the Monday, June 7, 2021 regular session meeting of the Durham City Council:
June 5, 2021
Dear Durham City Council Member,
On behalf of the Durham People’s Alliance (PA), we are writing to express our thanks to you and the city staff for preparing the recommended FY 2021-22 budget. The proposed $524.6 million budget is an important statement of our priorities as a community and should help support a healthy and just recovery from COVID-19.
As you know, the members of PA work towards a vision of a just, equitable, and inclusive community where all people thrive in several interconnected areas — economic justice, education, housing, environmental justice, and race equity. In support of this vision, we submitted a letter to city council members on February 9, 2021 with a number of important budget requests. The recommended FY 2021-22 budget presented on May 17 meets several, but not all, of those requests. Below, we outline where the proposed budget reflects our values and where it falls short. We hope you find this analysis useful as you and staff prepare for the planned public hearing on the budget and as you debate where to prioritize your federal COVID resources.Read more