A plan proposed by the D.C. school administration that would have provided summer jobs for up to 2,000 June graduates of city public high schools at a cost of $2 million has been rejected by the city's board of education.
The school administration planned to use money saved during the recent teacher's strike to pay for the program, which would have accommodated as many as one-third of the city's 6,000 high school graduates.
But the school board, according to its president, Minnie S. Woodson, decided it wanted to use the savings for programs to benefit the entire school system and those students still enrolled in it.
Rejection of the plan, the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) which came at the board meeting Wednesday night, was described yesterday as "really unfortunate" by Audrey Rowe, Mayor Marion Barry's special assistant for youth affairs.
She said the city administration would "make every effort" to absorb into other job programs those youths who might have participated in SWEP.
City officials said they hope about 30,000 jobs will be provided here this summer for people between 14 and 21 under both public and private sector programs. Rowe said she expects the largest single group of these jobs, about 13,500, to be funded through a grant from the federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program.
As envisioned by school administration officials, the SWEP program would have offered selected graduates "meaningful work experience" in science, art, technology, health, education and other job fields, in the public and private sectors.
The jobs were to pay the minimum wage and run through July and August, with teachers monitoring and supervising the students to check on both progress and problems, according to a school system spokeswoman.
In part, she said, the program was to serve as an indicator of whether what was being taught in the schools was relevant to the world of work.
"We were hoping to get feedback to help us in improving our curriculum, if indicated," she added.
While no students had been hired or had even received applications, she said, some employers already had committed themselves to provide jobs.
In summarizing reasons for the plan's rejection, school board President Woodson said, "We want to do a good job of education," adding that a majority of the board members felt they did not want to expand their responsibilities to operating also as an "employment agency."
She said she wants any money saved or unobligated this year to be used for an extensive summer school program and for maintence, repair and equipment needs that have long been neglected and that would benefit all the system's students.
While recognizing the existence this summer of "a pressure . . . to provide jobs for youth," she said she would like to see a "pressure to provide education." CAPTION: Picture, MINNIE S. WOODSON . . . cites schools' needs