The Corner Forum
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003
Issue #20

Panel Plans Hearing On Kingsman Sale

By Marc Borbely, 536 13th St. NE

Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) has scheduled a hearing on legislation that would allow the city to sell Kingsman Elementary School to the Charter Schools Development Corporation, which in turn plans to lease the space to the Sasha Bruce Charter School and to Options Charter School (see Feb. 8 Corner Forum).

The hearing, by the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Latino Affairs and Property Management, is scheduled for March 5 at 10 a.m., according to Denise Wiktor, Mr. Graham's committee clerk. The hearing will be held at the Wilson Building, at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Ms. Wiktor said she had been unable to coordinate hearing dates with Council member Harold Brazil's (D-At Large) office, which must hold a hearing sometime after Mr. Graham's committee holds its hearing. James Abely, committee clerk on Mr. Brazil's committee, did not return a phone call.

Mr. Graham said in an interview on Feb. 7 that he does not view the legislation, PR 15-59, as being controversial. Ms. Wiktor said that members of the public who wish to testify either for or against the legislation should call Xavier Beltran on Monday, at 724-8095. Mr. Beltran will start working as the committee's new clerk tomorrow, as Ms. Wiktor moves to the Department of Transportation.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A unanimously passed a resolution at its meeting on Feb. 13 stating that the ANC "fully supports the redevelopment of the Kingsman School as an educational facility for K-12 charter schools and strongly encourages that City Council approve the resolution to declare Kingsman a surplus building and sell the property to the [Charter Schools Development Corporation]."

According to documents obtained from the D.C. Environmental Health Administration through a Freedom of Information Act request, there is one 30-year-old 10,000-gallon underground heating oil tank at the Kingsman site.

Joel Scharfer, financial adviser to the Charter Schools Development Corporation, said Friday that the corporation has determined there has been no soil seepage from the fuel tank. The only environmental issues that will need to be addressed during construction, he said, are asbestos, lead paint and
pigeon droppings. §