One sad footnote to the FY 2012 budget is the nearly 50 percent cut in spending for Shaw Middle School@Garnet-Patterson. The Ward 1 school became one of the feel-good stories of the Michelle Rhee era when a group of eighth graders approached the former chancellor in 2009 and asked if she would add a ninth grade to Shaw. They wanted more of principal Brian Betts, who they said had changed the culture at the newly-merged middle school. About 100 students signed on. In the winter of 2010 Rhee granted another extension allowing them to stay for their sophomore year.
But Betts was murdered last April, and now school officials have decided to disperse the ninth and 10th grade classes formed on his watch. The school’s projected enrollment for the fall is down almost 50 percent, from 318 to 152, and with it the available funding. Shaw will also lose staff positions along with the 29 other “receiving schools” that were bulked up when they took on students from shuttered buildings in 2008.
All told, Shaw’s 2012 budget is down 43.5 percent, from $4.4 million to $2.5 million.