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Council Open to Compromise on Ed Board Funding

The D.C. Council appears to be backing away from its plans to attempt an override of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's veto of funding to the State Board of Education.

At a press conference this morning, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said members will work with the administration today to try to iron out a compromise to avoid an override attempt.

"We are trying to find the best solution we can," Gray said. "There may be some way we can do this."

The council approved $950,000 in the fiscal 2010 budget for the board to hire a couple of staffers to make its own spending decisions. The board's nine members are elected but have no authority over day-to-day school operations. That power rests solely with Fenty (D) and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee under the 2007 law that dissolved the old D.C. Board of Education.

For the second time this year, Fenty vetoed Gray's proposed funding change because he worried it would jeopardize school reform efforts.

In an interview today, Gray rejected suggestions that giving the board additional resources would affect Rhee and school reform efforts. But Gray said he and other council members are ready to see if an agreement can be reached.

"We are trying to do something that will get everyone to the finish line," Gray said. "We are going to continue to keep talking throughout the day."

Gray said one possible solution is putting "clarifying language" in the budget clearly specifying the limits on board's authority and spending.

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 21, 2009; 12:51 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , Education , Tim Craig  
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"We are trying to find the best solution we can," Gray said. "There may be some way we can do this."

Lets call a duck a duck. The D.C. Council, most prominently Vincent Gray, is again caving to Adrian Fenty at the expense of defending the will of the people in their election of the D.C. School Board. It makes no logical sense that the elected school board does not have autonomy over their own budget and are, rather, held hostage to executing their electoral responsibilities by an unelected appointee of the Mayor.

I'll take it even further and suppose that the change of heart has come about due to a form of executive political extortion taken place behind the scenes between the Executive Office of the Mayor and individual Council Members. Quid Pro Quo.

I said it once and I'll repeat it again, it is enlightening that this is happening at this moment in time. With the elections upon us, this decision of individual council members on this issue will be fresh in the minds of constituents during the election. Those perks promised by the Mayor to the Council Members will be of little value when they find themselves kicked to the curb by the D.C. Electorate. They play the voters for being a fool. Well, let's show them who the fool REALLY is.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 21, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

From the musical: A Little Night Music

Just send in the clowns
There ought to be clowns
Don't bother they're here!

Posted by: candycane1 | September 21, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

concernedaboutdc, Vincent Gray isn't exactly caving in to Fenty per se, but rather, he's stepping back and giving Fenty enough rope to hang himself.

Posted by: starclimber9 | September 22, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

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