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Fenty Gears Up for Fight With Gray Over School Board Funding

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said he and schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee are lobbying D.C. Council members to prevent council Chairman Vincent C. Gray's effort to override his veto of funding to the State Board of Education.

The council approved $950,000 in the fiscal 2010 budget -- a move that would give the board more power and autonomy from Rhee.

Fenty, who pushed for a takeover of the schools that included a less-influential board, appears to be poised for a fight with Gray. "The chancellor does not think this would be the best way to go about managing the school system," Fenty said in an interview.

The council is expected to take up overriding the veto at its meeting Tuesday.

Fenty made his comments after joining council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) in unveiling a sign for the 1300 block of V Street, renaming it for renowned poet Langston Hughes.

Graham said he was on his way to meet with Rhee about -- what else? The veto.

By Washington Post Editors  |  September 18, 2009; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , D.C. Council , D.C. Employees , Education , Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart  | Tags: Adrian M. Fenty, D.C. Council, Jim Graham, Michelle A. Rhee, Vincent C. Gray, state board of education  
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After trying to blame the council for the chancellor's actions and the mayor co-signing to cover-up for the latest scheme and round of firings, Call them both on the phone and say "You lie". Then override the veto and go have a drink. Remember when Rhee wouldn't show up to hearings, the mayor has yet to show his face in council chambers since taking office. Tired of being "dissed"? Stand up for a change. Override, overrride, override!! You made a mistake in giving away all authority to this mayor. Start correcting your actions. Override, Override, Override!

Posted by: candycane1 | September 18, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Candycane- Cheer them on.

I'm trying to think how Fenty/Rhee can twist this to their advantage - and just deleted my brilliant idea in case they or their minions are reading here. (Paranoia is "in" these days)

I'm hoping this will bring Chairman Gray more national attention, because I do think he comes across well and will be the obvious voice of reason over Rhee and Fenty. Fenty comes across as a dolt and there's nothing he can do to change that. The chancellor is an extremely talented public speaker, but the facts are starting to catch up with her now, so a straight-talking, sincere, rightfully miffed city council chair with an abe-lincoln look might be ready for his national debut.

Posted by: efavorite | September 18, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Okay...this goes into effect. Lawsuits begin and all of sudden we have to rehire and backpay. If you think city-services are at the bare minimal now...wait until the city really has to rob Peter to pay Paul. All sudden everyone is angry and mad...and wanting to fight for what is right. Again, the minorities of education and politics are fighting amongst each other as the white politicians and educational leaders are looking and saying wait til the smoke clears and Custard will take his last stand.

Candycane1; I think a Serena Williams words of anger are more befitting this situation..."I will take this RIF and shove it down your throat."

Posted by: PowerandPride | September 18, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Rhee and Fenty are quite a pair. They believe that rules are for everyone but them!I hope Gray nails both of them. Come on Fenty, show up at a Council Meeting and answer some questions,be a man! Rhee is just plain disrespectful to everyone and anyone since being appointed as Chancellor.
I wish both of them would fly out of The District on Rhee's broomstick.
Candycane1,as usual you are right on target.Keep writing your comments. You keep us all in the know!

Posted by: DCWatcher3 | September 18, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"The chancellor does not think this would be the best way to go about managing the school system"

What has "Broom"hilda demonstrated about school system management outside of mass firings?! Council members, this is your opportunity to correct some of your missteps regarding the mayor, who has disrespected you since ascending to his imaginary throne. Re-earn the respect and trust of your constituents by overriding "His majesty's" veto and by stopping the runaway, unaccountable, non-transparent train that is Fenty/Rhee. It's way past time for you to check and balance the damage these egomaniacs have wrought.

Posted by: schooletal | September 18, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse


Thanks you schooletal!!!!
And Sorry for reposting you message. I just felt it needed to be screamed at the council. If you don't mind, I may just email this to all of them. Its as if they forget every time, each prior slight. As candycane said, he or his administration have not been before the council to answer to anything. Have you ever heard of the council not being able to call any Govt employee before them to investigate a complaint? And Nickles saying he wont allow it because its againts the best interest of the agency to let out how something was done???? That means it was criminal dummy!

Sorry for ranting, Im just so fed you with them.

Posted by: centsmytwo | September 19, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

This seems like an appropriate time to remind people of a classic Rhee comment, made in August '08:

"There's this crazy dynamic [at City Council meetings] where every agency head is kowtowing. They sit there and get beat down. I'm not going to sit on public TV and take a beating I don't deserve. I don't take that crap.”

Posted by: efavorite | September 19, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Efavorite: It is soooo appropriate! Your timing is unbelievable.

DCwatcher3: Thanks! We're all in this together. This is our city and our tax money.

Posted by: candycane1 | September 19, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

You would think that this would be a no brainer for the Council, but with this Council, you cant assume anything.

First, and Foremost, the D.C. School Board is a predominately ELECTED body. They are elected by the same constituencies that elect the council members and the Mayor, the Board President is elected At-Large and like the Council and the Mayor they should be held accountable only to THE PEOPLE.

It is fundamentally contrary to the principles of the democratic process to have ANY elected body report to an APPOINTEE. Further, because of the obvious abuse of power that clearly is present in this instant with the mayor controlling the board's budget, i.e. who the board can hire, when they can hire them and all other decisions requring a budget; That, of all pieces should be managed automously WITHIN the board NOT by the Mayor's appointee.

This is not about the School Board seeking to overturn the Mayoral Control of Public Schools, it is the Board seeking autonomy over their cash so that they can do what they are elected to do without executive interference and political misbehavior; i.e. their budget being used to hold them hostage.

I am so VERY pleased that this is happening now, with the 2010 elections right upon us. This way whatever decision the council makes will be fresh in the minds of the people when they hit the polls. I don't care what "promises" the Mayor makes to the council during backdoor deals, what I do care about is them protecting the democratic process, the will of the people in their selection of a school board to represent THEIR interest. Anything less is tantamount in political extortion whose punishment should be that they are vacated from dais by the people who put them there.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 19, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

centsmytwo, glad I could fire you up! Don't let your rant go to waste. Let your elected representative(s) know how you feel.

concernedaboutdc, WELL SAID!!! We have proof positive of what can go wrong when the democratic process is hijacked and we don't have appropriate checks and balances in place.

Posted by: schooletal | September 19, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

There are great comments here, ones that make sense.
Mycentstwo: I agree with schooletal. Make your feelings known.

Concernedaboutdc: Great comments! But your first statement is what concern me. You are right. How many times have we witnessed the council acting like they were ready to do what we pay them for and then "smack", it was all for nothing. I went back to read this article again especially about Graham. He was with the mayor for the Langston Hughes ceremony and then we left to go talk to Rhee. With Graham something doesn't smell right all the time. There are about six others that fall into the same category at any given time. We'll see. But those mayoral hopefuls better do the right thing if they want any chance of constituent support.

Posted by: candycane1 | September 20, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

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