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Mr. BATEs. How many classrooms do you have under your immediate supervision?
Mr. DERRICOTE. I have five classes a day, usually.
Mr. DERRICOTE. I teach 8A geography, 78 history, and an SB history course.
May I say that in these two schools, the Brown Junior High School and the Randall Junior High School, there are over 3,000 children who are subjected to a double session-1,707, as of February 7, 1947, in the Brown Junior High School, a school built for a capacity of 888 children. In our school we have 1,400 children in an area which was constructed for about 700 children.
Mr. Bates. How old is the newest building in that area?
Mr. DERRICOTE. The Brown Junior High School, I think, the newer of the two schools, was built probably in 1930 or 1932. not sure of that. But the Randall is a very old school, to which there have been any number of additions. I think if you will recall a recent editorial it was considered as a rat hole. That was said in the Post, I believe.
Mr. BATES. Why was that description given to it?
Mr. DERRICOTE. First of all, the physical construction of the building is really a hodgepodge. We have in the center what is known as the Cardozo wing, which probably was the original high school. We have wings out in all directions. We are trying to get a wing out
a across the back. The appropriation, I believe, was $328,000 and the bidders wanted $400,000, so that will not be completed.
Downstairs under this you have nothing but a labyrinth of little cubbyholes and things of that nature.
First of all, the floors are wooden in some areas and when you walk through the dust comes all over. No part of it is vacuumed like the modern junior high schools. The walls have been recently painted but I think it has been a long time since they were last painted. The building is really in a pretty terrible plight and it has not all the facilities which are conducive to high educational attainments.
Mr. BATEs. In your teaching of a subject such as geography and history you probably could teach a class of 40 pupils without any great effort, but when you get down into mathematics and the sciences such as chemistry, what is the size of those classes, Mr. Derricote? Mr. DERRICOTE. I do not have the organization data for my school.
. I apologize for not having it, but as I have made a cursory observation in there, all of the classes are pretty full and I think a class of 40 even in the sciences is probably one of the smaller classes. I teach in a room in which one of the teachers teaches social science and his room is jammed.
Mr. MURRAY. And in this school I mentioned, the Shaw Junior High, I have statistics on general science classes: 10 classes 40 to 45, 6 classes 45 to 50, in mathematics; and general science, 4 classes with 40, 7 with 45 to 50, and 3 with over 50.
Mr. BATES, I have all the material over at my office.
Mr. DERRICOTE. This is the Shaw Junior High. There they have an overcrowded condition, but they have not gone through the double session yet.
Mr. BATES. Are there plans for establishing more schools in that area?
Mr. DERRICOTE. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. DERRICOTE. I do not know which way the migration of people is for the Shaw area. Where I teach there seems to be an influx of people. For instance, we have sent 350 of our pupils over to another school which was set up at the secondary level in order to keep our school from having 1,700.
Mr. Bates. How many streets away is this other school ?
Mr. DERRICOTE. I think the Thomas School is in the Anacostia area; I am not sure. That at least alleviated some of the conditions.
Mr. BATEs. How far do the children have to travel—the longest distance from their homes to either the junior high school in Anacostia or your school?
Mr. DERRICOTE. I have not seen a diagram of the boundary for that, so I would not be able to give your committee that information.
Mr. Bates. Do you know some people who live near your school building who go to another school?
Mr. DERRICOTE. No; all of the pupils who live near the Randall School go to Randall. We draw upon the immediate southwest and a portion of the southwest area. However, a large percentage of our pupils do come by means of bus and streetcar to our school, which implies the radius from the school to their home is probably a mile or greater, which is usually the standard measurement for a secondary school. That is not considered too far to come.
Mr. BATES. In medium-sized cities of the country a mile and a half or 2 miles is not considered too far.
Mr. DERRICOTE. I have one pertinent fact I would like to leave with you. In speaking with the principal concerning another ramification of a double shift, she cited to me the high mortality rate for the pupils from our junior high school in the high school. She cites as the figure 60 percent of this year's junior high school graduation class will fall out by the end of the first year of high school, due to the fact, first, that they have not had sufficient training to start in the highschool curriculum at the point where the high school starts. This gap in articulation is tremendous. Of course, there are other factors involved. But, as you know, failure to keep with one group and repeated failure is productive of falling out of school.
Mr. Bates. Do you have the 6–3–3 system here? Mr. DERRICOTE. Yes; we do. Mr. Bates. That is all, Doctor. We will be glad to hear anybody else who desires to speak this afternoon.
STATEMENT OF MRS. RAYMOND COLE, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mrs. Cole. I am a housewife. I am on the legislative committee of the Randle Highlands Citizens Association and am otherwise active in the organization.
I just want to speak from the viewpoint of the housewife on the subjects that you have been discussing today.
As a bona fide, home-owning District resident, I oppose any change in the tax structure of the District unless and until the present income tax is changed to apply to all incomes earned within the District.
It is bad enough that we have taxation without representation, but to be unjustly taxed with discrimination in favor of nonresidents would not be tolerated where citizens have the vote.
In the southeast area of the city, where population growth is most rapid, public services and facilities cannot keep up with the demand. New streets, new sewers, new schools, and additional transportation must be provided at added cost to the taxpayer.
With frozen rents and Government housing now prevailing, the nonresident tenants, who account for much of the increased populition, do not bear any part of this increased tax burden.
One result of overcrowding in the schools is that we found it advisable to send our child to a private school in order that his education may not suffer from the present abnormal conditions. This cost is directly attributable to demands on the schools by families who pay no school tax, while the resident pays for both. The same applies to other services mentioned.
I urge, therefore, that with provision for reciprocity with the States where such nonresidents claim legal domicile, the District income tax apply to all who actually live in the District and use its facilities.
I submit further that the burden of proof as to why he should not be so taxed should rest on the person who lives here and derives his income within the District. All those who reap the benefits should help pay the cost.
That is another light on the school situation. I live in the southeast section, and we found that the school there was so crowded, has been before mentioned, that we had to send our child away to school in order to be sure he would get a good education.
Mr. BATES. You have made an examination of the number of pupils in each room in that school?
Mrs. COLE. I could not give you that information, but I do know that the schools are overcrowded and when we visited them, the teacher was usually busy and I could not see her. She simply could not see me because she was so busy.
Mr. Bares. How many pupils would you say were there?
Mrs. Cole. He was in junior high and he would go on to Anacostia High from there where the schools were still very crowded, and we could see no hope that under the present conditions that he would be able to continue his education as he should.
Mr. Bates. Have you any suggestions to make with regard to the administration of the District as a whole, or any criticism?
Mrs. COLE. I have this criticism to make, and that is true of our association in the Southeast, that we think that the Southeast, which is the fast-growing area in the District, has not received its proper share of protection in the way of facilities, school facilities, and other things. Perhaps that may be corrected later, but we feel that we have not been properly treated in that regard.
Mr. BATES. Other than schools, what is your criticism?
Mrs. COLE. Other than schools, well, we do have difficulties with overcrowding, congestion in traffic situations, and the streets are very, very congested, and we feel, of course, that may be taken care of.
Nr. BATES. Are the streets in fairly good repair?
Mr. BATEs. Your chief complaint is on the overcrowded school population ?
Mrs. COLE. That is true; yes.
Mr. Bates. If you have any further constructive criticism to offer, , the committee would be very glad to hear it.
STATEMENT OF MRS. ETTA L., TAGGART, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mrs. Taggart. I am a practicing attorney here in the District. I am a native-born Washingtonian. I am representing the Washingtonians here today, and am a former president of the Society of Natives of the District of Columbia.
Mr. Bates, I would like to make a comment, if I may, to the statement made by Mr. Lusk. I consider that the Welfare Board of the District of Columbia is composed of outstanding civic workers and they were put there appointed by the Commissioners after careful consideration.
The fact that one of them is a retired railway postal clerk does not detract from his capability at all, and it must be remembered that these members are not paid for their services and I think they should be commended instead of criticized. My main statement deals with the budget and with means of raising
You possibly could say there is some criticism in it. For instance, the people who make their money in the District, living outside, they should pay District income tax.
The Washingtonians, a citizens association, is, at all times vitally interested in the welfare of the District of Columbia, and especially in the problems of taxation.
On behalf of that group I am here today. We have the same interests in the yearly budget estimates as presented by the head of the several departments of the District. The last budget estimates for the fiscal year 1948 are of particular interest because of the astounding estimates presented by most of the departments. It is felt that it would take days to discuss the same, some of which are long and involved.
The organization which I represent has always stood for the best that could be obtained for our schools, for excellent recreational facilities, for an up-to-date police department, safe streets and roads, and other projects named in the budget.
But we believe at the same time, that the estimates as submitted by these departments cannot be met unless it is possible to raise additional revenue in order to meet partially the needed expenditures.
It is felt that under the present conditions which exist in the District of Columbia as a result of the past war, it is absolutely necessary to limit the desires and requests of the different department heads as shown by their submitted budget estimates for the new fiscal year.
We think that applied economy now is wiser and more important now than in the future when it is hoped that the District will be better able to cope with the situation.
It is not our desire to curtail any important expenditures which are necessary for the benefit of the people but we do wish to ease the burden of taxation which is necessary to meet these expenditures, as much as possible.
T'he task of the Commissioners is not an easy one because of the fact that they have to slash sums of money from the requests of their several departments, thereby delaying many worthy projects, much to the dissatisfaction of many citizens.
However, it is necessary and we must have an improvement in the tax structure as it exists today. Several recommendations have been made by the Washingtonians, from time to time, concerning what means should be adopted to raise additional revenue.
We have favored à sales tax for many years which would exempt food, clothing, and medicine because it is a fair and equitable method of taxation, if it becomes necessary to resort to the same. It is a tax upon consumption and a tax upon those who can afford to pay without hardship as it would be paid by a few pennies at a time.
It would not come upon you in a lump sum once a year as does the income tax. We believe that the responsibility of raising the additional revenue should not be borne by the residents of the District alone, but should be borne by all who share in its benefits. Many visitors from every State in the Union and foreign countries who visit here should have to pay.
We have favored the return to the statute books of the old formula of 40 percent of the expenditures for maintaining the District be paid by the Federal Government and 60 percent by the District government.
The Federal Government did pay 40 percent at a time when the city of Washington was far less populated than now, which is an excellent reason why it should be paying much more than it does now by its lump-sum appropriations.
After all, the Federal Government has received a number of benefits from the District government for which nothing has been paid and specific mention is made of an outstanding benefit to the Federal Gorernment in connection with its real-estate holdings in the District on which it pays no tax.
In connection with taxation I wish to remind you that the fundamental principle of our government, which was instilled in our minds when we were children, is that this is a Government. In spite of this. however, we are taxed but we strive to make the best of a bad situation.
The late Theodore W. Noyes stated, “Financial obligation accompanies power of exclusive control.”
We are especially interested in legislation which would provide for a lottery as a means of raising revenue to meet our necessary expenditures.
There is much being said by different groups and persons at the present time in connection with the tax problem of the District of Columbia. Quite a number have different ideas as to how taxation should be met. There is no unity.
We appeal to individuals and groups to be sensible and reasonable by urging legislation covering a lottery under governmental control