Mount Pleasant Fights For Its Schools

  • March 14th 2014

by Lark Turner

Mount Pleasant Fights For Its Schools: Figure 1
A home in Mount Pleasant

The parents living in one of DC’s hottest housing markets are eyeing an ongoing redistricting process for DC public schools with concern and apprehension.

Mount Pleasant is at the eastern edge of the zone that feeds into Deal Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School, two of the top secondary schools in DC (the city’s best-performing public high school, Benjamin Banneker, is a magnet school and uses an application system for admission). But both Deal and Wilson are overcrowded, and the community is worried that a revised school boundary would cut Mount Pleasant residents out.

As a result, a group of neighbors have joined together to petition the city to keep their kids in those schools. The new school boundaries are scheduled to be finalized by September of this year, but wouldn’t take effect until the 2015-2016 school year, according to Deputy Mayor of Education Abigail Smith’s office.

However, new boundaries for Mount Pleasant — or anywhere else, for that matter — have not been decided yet.

“We can’t say whether or not the boundaries will change or not, because those decisions have not been made,” Tara Lynch, who works for Smith, told UrbanTurf.

Mount Pleasant Fights For Its Schools: Figure 2
Woodrow Wilson High School.

The redistricting process is a big issue not just in Mount Pleasant, but throughout the city, and the state of the city’s schools has taken center stage in the upcoming mayoral election. UrbanTurf is looking at the issue in Mount Pleasant because the area’s proximity to downtown and access to quality public schools are a big part of why the neighborhood has become such a hot real estate market over the past few years. It’s why the petition’s organizer, Josh Louria, moved to the neighborhood with his wife in 2011. The couple don’t have kids — they’re expecting their first in a week — but they bought their house with the schools in mind.

“Mount Pleasant really ticked all the boxes for us,” Louria told UrbanTurf on Thursday. “It has this magical combination of things that have made families realize, ‘Oh, we can really settle down in this neighborhood.’ One of the main reasons we moved into this neighborhood was for access to these schools. When we heard about the redistricting, we kind of felt that the city was changing the rules from under our feet.”

Most of the other schools the neighborhood would be zoned into, Louria said, “have a long way to go,” and suggested the city continue to improve them before changing the shape of school districts.

Louria said he doesn’t blame DC for moving forward with the process given the overcrowding, and complimented Smith on her communication with the neighborhood, where his petition has already racked up more than 125 signatures. But he said if Mount Pleasant is rezoned and the schools don’t improve, he’ll likely move, as will a number of his neighbors who have children.

“Most of our friends will probably leave DC anyway because of the schools,” he said. “We’d really like not to. We’d like to stay in Mount Pleasant. I think we would stay and keep trying as long as it worked. When it didn’t work anymore, I would move.”

See other articles related to: mount pleasant, schools, wilson

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/mt._pleasant_neighbors_fear_losing_wilson_in_redistricting_process/8236.

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