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Mayor Gray on School Buildings: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’

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credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — As children who attend the District’s public schools head back to class this week, Mayor Vincent Gray is happy that the city can offer some of them brand new, modernized learning spaces.

But all D.C. students deserve to be educated in updated facilities, which is why the city is investing in its school buildings, he says in his weekly radio address exclusive to All-News 99.1 WNEW.

This year, educators at a brand new Dunbar High School in Ward 5 and a completely renovated Cardozo Senior High School in Ward 1 will welcome students into their classrooms.

“The District government has invested more than $200 million to insure that the students in these schools have not only the best resources, technology and facilities at their disposal, but also beautiful and inspiring spaces in which to learn,” Gray says.

“There was a time in our country’s history when it was par for the course to invest significant resources into our public schools… but somewhere along the line we lost our way a little bit and we began constructing ever cheaper and ever less inspiring school facilities.”

The best example of that trend, Gray says, was the Dunbar building. Built in 1977 to replace a 1916 structure, it “looked more like a windowless prison than a school,” and is now being demolished.

“Our children deserve better,” Gray says. “And that’s why the District is engaged in a multi-year, multi-billion dollar effort to renovate, modernize or replace every public school building in our city.”

Several schools have already been updated or rebuilt in the past two years, and there are more in the works.

Gray says the city is already seeing a return on investment in the form of drastically improved test scores.

“I believe these magnificent new, and updated buildings will get us even further toward our goal of ensuring that a top quality education is available to every student in every neighborhood in the District of Columbia,” he says.

The mayor’s weekly radio address can be heard at 10:05 a.m. every Sunday only on All-News 99.1 WNEW and streamed online.

WNEW’s Cheryl Simone contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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