- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

A nonprofit tutoring group evicted from a D.C. public school has been reinstated and will resume its program Monday, an organization official said.

“It’s a great feeling,” Brian Carome, executive director for Project Northstar, said yesterday. “It’s scary when you think you don’t have the support and cooperation of D.C. public schools. And we started believing that we didn’t.”

Northstar had run the program inside Lemon G. Hine Junior High in Southeast for about a decade before principal Willie Jackson said Dec. 5 that tutors could no longer use the school because officials had not filed a yearly building-use agreement.

School officials also said Northstar had failed to submit an agreement during its entire time at the school. However, The Washington Times obtained a copy of an agreement that had been signed by a school administrator in 2003.

The officials later said they had located an expired agreement.

Program officials filed another building-use agreement with the school system in late December but were uncertain until yesterdayabout its status.

Mr. Carome said school officials were also concerned about Northstar’s calling some of the tutored students “at-risk” and were reviewing the need for additional security.

Mr. Carome said the students are “at-risk” for homelessness, not criminal adjudication, and that school officials finished the application once they learned the distinction.

School officials previously suggested that Northstar pay security and custodial-services fees to remain at Hine. But Mr. Carome said yesterday the fees would not have to be paid. “We basically have the same agreement we used to have,” he said.

School officials could not be reached for comment last night.

Project Northstar was founded in 1989 by members of the D.C. Chapters of the Coalition of 100 Black Women and Concerned Black Men and lawyers from three area law firms. It serves about 200 poverty-level students once a week at six D.C. sites. The program is funded by grants from area foundations and private and corporate donations.

Mr. Carome said about 30 students, most of whom are elementary and middle school students, are taught at Hine.

“That’s a good feeling to know that some of them will be back where they should be on Monday evening,” he said.

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