Leggett Speaks On School District "Needs"
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is widely viewed as someone who tries to avoid public conflict. So it was not especially surprising this morning that he seemed to be holding out an olive branch to schools superintendent Jerry D. Weast, with whom he had sparred early this year over the school system's budget request.
Leggett, you may recall, told Weast that he would be unable to give Weast the entire $37 million increase sought in the school system's $2 billion budget. Leggett did tell Weast he could provide about two-thirds of the increase.
That didn't satisfy Weast, who helped gin up a campaign to try to win more money from the County Council. In the end, the school system got most but not all of what officials there sought. And Weast did manage to find some unspent funds that helped bridge the difference.
This morning, speaking to a breakfast crowd organized by the Committee for Montgomery, an advocacy group of business, labor and non-profit officials, Leggett provided details of looming budget problems in the coming year. But he also said he "didn't want a superintendent who wouldn't look at the budget honestly and say 'this is what I need to educate the children of Montgomery County. '"
So does that mean it's okay for Weast to ask for the max even if Leggett can't deliver?
Well, not quite. Leggett-ologists say the key word in that sentence is "need." Leggett doesn't think Weast should ask for everything he "wants," but instead for everything the system "needs."
Put away those olive branches.
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