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Without working kitchens, students at New York City’s culinary high school are cooked
-- MONICA DISARE , Chalkbeat

New York: November 30, 2016 -- Food and Finance High School in Hell’s Kitchen helps students learn to cook alongside professional chefs and enter culinary competitions, all while earning their high school diplomas. But this year, the school has a problem, and it’s a big one: The kitchens don’t work. On Giving Tuesday, a day when many nonprofits solicit donations, the school had a pointed request for the city’s Department of Education. “On #givingtuesday, can the DOE give us gas, so our 430 students can learn to cook? That would be GREAT,” a tweet from the school’s account read. School leaders say maintenance was performed on the school’s six kitchens over the summer, and should have been finished by the start of the school year. Yet, five of kitchens are still fully out of service, they said, and one has limited capacity.


D.C. residents blast lack of transparency in school renovations
-- Emily Leayman, Education Watchdog

District of Columbia: November 29, 2016 -- Some D.C. families at a neighborhood elementary school are outraged that their children will be sent across the city during a two-year building renovation. Feeling powerless during the city’s decision-making process, they hope to change the mayor’s mind Tuesday at a community meeting. Hyde-Addison Elementary, a joint campus in D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood, will undergo a $23.9 million renovation for the upcoming two school years to add additional space and connect its two buildings. During the process, its 320 students — including 3- and 4-year-olds — are expected to move to Meyer Elementary, 2.7 miles away from the Georgetown campus. Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles and D.C. Public Schools announced the relocation site at an October School Improvement Team meeting. At the previous meeting in September, the team offered a few options based on availability, space and cost. The deputy mayor’s office has not responded to a request for comment.


How Prop. 51 school bond could freeze out poorer districts
-- Jessica Calefati, CALmatters, San Francisco Chronicle

California: November 26, 2016 -- It’s tough for California voters to say “no” to more money for school construction. They almost always approve state bond requests, and this month they passed a $9 billion package that backers promised would help pay for repairs and upgrades needed to preserve students’ access to safe, modern classrooms. Unlike previous bonds, however, Proposition 51 was placed on the ballot not by lawmakers, but by developers looking out for their own interests. Its approval locks in an outdated system that was designed for a time when the student population was growing, and its application process may limit poor districts’ chances of claiming their fair share of the money. Instead of prioritizing projects for needy communities, the state will dole out these bond proceeds the way it always has: on a first-come, first-served basis. Scores of well-off districts are already in line, and small, impoverished ones have no one in their corner helping them navigate the complicated application process. That means some worthy repair projects may never see a dime.


Bozeman school construction projects are right on track
-- Gail Schontzler, Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Montana: November 26, 2016 -- Major construction projects to renovate Hawthorne Elementary School and expand Sacajawea Middle School are “right on track,” says the school building chief. Todd Swinehart, Bozeman School District facilities director, says he has been very pleased with the team effort by the construction contractors, Dick Anderson and Martel, and the architects, Comma Q and A&E. “It always complicates things when you’re working in occupied schools,” Swinehart said. Hawthorne School on North Rouse Avenue, one of Bozeman’s 1939 Fred Willson-designed school buildings, is about 40 percent through its renovation, Swinehart said. Bonds to pay for both the $5 million Hawthorne and $16 million Sacajawea projects were passed by voters. Hawthorne’s new two-story classroom wing is rising along Lamme Street. The new wing will replace portable classrooms that were supposed to be temporary but stayed in use for decades. The school will gain one additional classroom. The principal’s office has been moved to improve oversight of visitors entering the school.


Broward school district seeks federal oversight on $800 million bond spending
-- Caitlin R. McGlade, Sun Sentinel

Florida: November 26, 2016 -- The Broward County School Board is asking a federal agency to oversee its spending and is revising its contract policies as it begins making promised renovations under the $800 million bond program. The district plans to order staff to report possible waste, fraud and/or abuse to the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education. The agency investigates wrongdoing in the Florida education system, and its phone number will be clearly posted the district's website.