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Laura Gardner, Appointed Board of Education member
July 17, 2003




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District of Columbia Board of Education
825 North Capitol Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 442- 4289 Office (202) 442-5198 Fax
For Immediate Release
July 17, 2003
Contact: Elena Temple
(202) 442-5190


Washington, D.C. – Laura Gardner, At-Large Member of the District of Columbia Board of Education, today submitted her letter of resignation to Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

Appointed by the mayor in January of 2001, Ms. Gardner served as a co-chair on the Board’s Committee on Special Education and Student Services. Ms. Gardner’s term was to expire in December of 2004; however, her resignation will become effective at the end of August of 2003.

"Laura Gardner has been a dedicated member of the Board of Education and we will miss her efforts on behalf of the children of the city. I hope that the mayor is able to fill the position expeditiously because the Board has so much work before it that a full complement of members is needed," Board of Education President Peggy Cooper Cafritz commented.

Board of Education Vice President Mirian Saez echoed Ms. Cafritz’s statement saying, "I am sorry Ms. Gardner has made this decision. Her work on the Board’s Committee on Special Education has brought about real reform in an area that desperately needed attention. She was passionate about her work and she will be sorely missed."

A copy of Ms. Gardner’s letter of resignation is attached.

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July 17, 2003

The Honorable Anthony A. Williams
Mayor, District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

It is with deep regret that I submit my letter of resignation from the Board of Education for D.C. Public Schools. I was honored to have been appointed to this important position, and remain committed to the goals and objectives of the Strategic Education Plan as outlined by the Superintendent and ratified by the BOE. However, circumstances related to my immediate family compel me to offer my resignation at this time.

I also deeply regret that I did not have an opportunity to discuss this matter with you before it was made public. However, events at our most recent public Board of Education meeting held on July 16th warranted immediate reaction from me. As you are aware, I have consistently supported full funding of the DC Public School Budget as recommended by the Superintendent and the BOE. I believe that the FY ’03 and ’04 budgets were fiscally sound and aligned with the goals and objectives of the strategic plan. Funding of these budgets would have enabled the DC Public School System to make significant strides toward improving the academic programs, technological infrastructure and facilities at the local schools as well as improve the internal operation of the Central Administration. I also am cognizant of the state of our national and local economy. This is why I tried to focus the responsibility for the budget on the federal government where it rightfully belongs in my opinion. I would also like to state my regret that some members of the BOE, in the passion of the discussion last night, issued unwarranted accusations against you, the City Council, other government agencies, spurious "conspiracies," and others including members of the BOE. Such actions not only reflect badly on the BOE, but also contribute nothing to the resolution of the problems facing our schools. Most egregiously, these actions make the interaction among local government entities more difficult.

I continue to support you and the work of your administration and will continue to work as diligently as possible toward improving the DC Public Schools. Thank you for allowing me the honor to serve.

Laura D. Gardner

cc: Dr. Paul Vance, Superintendent, DCPS
Ms. Peggy Cooper Cafritz, President, BOE
Councilmember Kevin Chavous, Chair of the Committee on Education, Recreation and Libraries

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