Letter by Interim Manager
Dear Members of the German School Society Washington,
With this letter, I would like to remind you of the extraordinary membership meeting and the election
of the board of directors taking place there next week. I hope that as many of you as possible will be
able to attend. At the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a few open issues in
One enormous challenge in electing an entirely new board of directors is the possible loss of the
knowledge and know-how gained by the previous board members. A lot of the business and projects
on which the board has been working extend over several years (e.g. energy-efficiency renovation).
The board will need time to familiarize itself with the work. So it would be good if members of the
current board could be included in the future cooperation. In any event, the school leadership,
administration, and I have already discussed plans to facilitate the new board’s assumption of its
duties and responsibilities. We will discuss them with the newly elected board members immediately
following the election.
There has been some speculation whether the non-approval of the current board’s actions could have
negative implications for the continued German government funding of the German School
Washington. This is not the case! Only a few days ago, the German authorities have again been very
accommodating in the effort to resolve open financial issues concerning the energy-efficiency
The support for the German Schools Abroad is changing merely due to the new German Schools
Abroad Act – and not due to specific incidents in Washington. I will have the Act placed on the
school’s website. It brings many advantages: Among other things, financial support will be fixed over
a period of three years, which increases planning certainty. The changes will occur gradually and
proportionately, and support will remain substantial. The new board of directors will have to deal
with the changes and inform the members accordingly.
When the actions of the board of an association are not approved, this is a normal sign of democracy.
That is why the statutes expressly provide for this possibility. Almost every year, there are one or two
instances among the Societies of the German Schools Abroad where the actions of the board are not
approved; the last time this happened in Washington was 2001. To ensure that the German School
Society Washington is capable of taking action again, it is, however, now necessary that the members
of the German School Society Washington assume their responsibility to elect a new board of
directors and do so as quickly as possible. That’s where we will stand next week.
We all have an interest in the German School Washington remaining an excellent learning institution.
To achieve this aim, the active, forward-looking cooperation of the entire school community is
needed. The election of a new board of directors is a step in this direction. Please come vote!
Dr. Thomas Helbling
Interim Manager of the German School Washington D.C.