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DCPS Counts Its Pennies

D.C. public schools, largely protected from cuts in Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed 2010 budget, are tightening up for the remainder of the current fiscal year that ends Sept 30.

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee sent word to principals late Friday that local school budgets are effectively frozen until then. All spending requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and approved only if deemed to be critical.

Same for job vacancies, which are to be filled in the final 10 weeks of the academic year only to ensure that "services are delivered to our students or necessary to comply with current law," according to Rhee's e-mail.

While winding down spending toward the end of the school year is customary, administrators are usually given a few days notice, according to one veteran principal, who wonders if budget problems in the central office have compelled Rhee to snatch money back from the schools during the last quarter of the year.

Rhee's spokeswoman, Dena Iverson, said she was not aware of the status of the school budgets.

By Bill Turque  |  April 4, 2009; 6:21 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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We are already seeing bathroom stalls without toilet paper and no paper towels or soap in some bathrooms. Our principal informed us on Tuesday that we are down to our last few reams of copy paper for the year and there is $0 for anymore supplies.

This is the same old same old song and dance in DCPS, every year regardless of who is in charge.

I think all children should have access to proper bathroom supplies and teachers should have basic classroom materials as well no matter what month of school year it is. Isn't that putting children first?

Posted by: letsbereal2 | April 4, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

And it's going to get worse over the ensuing years if DC doesn't do something about these low taxicab rates. Having the lowest rate per mile in the nation will ensure that those happy toursists coming to town will take those dollars right back where they came from.

Posted by: starclimber9 | April 4, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The veteran principal knows that he/she is correct. Central has outspent itself tp pay for central's abuses. Wepman still there?

Posted by: candycane1 | April 5, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

letsbereal - "Putting children first" means going around the county talking about it and hoping that stories like this never make it across the Potomac.

Posted by: efavorite | April 5, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Are any teachers suggesting that the PTAs aren't being asked to fund the shortfall in supplies?

Posted by: bbcrock | April 6, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

When does the anti-deficiency law apply to those who control the budgets at the central level?

Posted by: candycane1 | April 6, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Somehow, the amount of paper products needed to get through a school year seems like one of the most standard and simple items in the budget to determine.

Why is this so hard and why can't the amazing new school chancellor figure this out by her second year?

Posted by: efavorite | April 6, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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