Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mayor and Council rumble over school plans

In a hearing called to Friday by the DC Council representatives of Mayor Fenty argued with council members over the Council's plan to pass legislation making them the final arbiter of DCPS school closings.
The hearing was called to consider legislation from council members Harry Thomas and Marion Barry that would give the council final say over proposed school closings.

Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee infuriated the council and community in February by issuing a list of school closures without seeking any public input.

Council Chairman Vincent Gray slammed the lack of transparency that pervaded that process and that has also kept the lawmakers -- who approved the mayoral schools takeover -- out of major decisions like the firing of 98 central office workers.

“The council was forced to the perimeter,” Gray said. “I don’t think any council member wants to run the school system..but we did expect to be involved in meaningful decision making.”

City Administrator Dan Tangherlini countered that the legislation was a knee-jerk reaction to a one-time school closure that no one hopes to see again.

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