I am very aware of this issue as my own community has successfully worked to attract and retain young families as residents and tax payers. As president of my community's neighborhood association, we raised half a million dollars in private funds to build our community's first recreation area for families. This amenity, plus several nearby charter schools have made it attractive for many of our families to stay in the city. However, we have much work to do to keep these families and their investment in the city. Dr. Alonzo is making strides, but we all know that there are ineffective departments in city administration that can be run better. Academically, we need to expand our vocational and technical offerings for high school students, carefully targeting the training we offer to enter the medical, high tech and IT fields where goods jobs are available for graduates. We should have ample training opportunities for high school students wanting to work in skilled trades. We should offer intensive remedial academic courses for every fourth and eighth grader who is not on par with state standards. Pre-schoolers in our poorest communities need access to the outstanding reading readiness programs of the Enoch Pratt Library system. Free book programs that are being operated on a small scale should get expanded funding from the many private foundations our area is fortunate to have. We also must increase the number of top public college preparatory schools to beyond the three we have. New York has had great success in opening public schools that are competitive with elite private schools. We can do that if our political leaders care to make it happen. No excuses. Excellence should be our standard. I have followed closely the mayoral control of the city school system in Washington DC. Regrettably, that has made the superintendent's position in DC vulnerable to whichever way the political winds seem to be blowing. I do not think mayoral control of the school system is the answer. However, I do want city council to have greater input on school board appointments. This is where we don't need well-meaning amateurs and campaign contributors to be sitting, but experts in education, business management and property management. These board members should report to the city council every week on a comprehensive list of school reform objectives. I am an experienced, hands-on community leader who is ready to roll up his sleeves on public education just as I have on every major issue facing my community.