Excerpts: Post reporter Bill Turque on Rhee resignation
Washington Post reporter Bill Turque, who covers the D.C. Public Schools system, was online earlier today to take reader questions after this morning's announcement that Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will step down by the end of the month. Excerpts from the discussion follow.
Q: What does this mean for the union contract?
Bill Turque: So far as we know, the union contract remains binding and in full force. Of course, it will be renegotiated in two years.
Q: Is a black DC school chief what Mayor Gray wants?
Bill Turque: I honestly don't think Gray approaches the issue that way.
Q: Where to next for Ms. Rhee? Another school system? A book deal? Speaking gigs? Combination of all three?
Bill Turque: Books and speeches for sure. Another school system? Doubtful. She has said that D.C. is her first and last superintendency, and I tend to believe her. I also think it would take a mayor willing to essentially cede all his power over schools to hire her. Not many of those.
Q: Does Rhee's contract provide for a severance package when she resigns (e.g. is this really a resignation, or is she being forced out, making her eligible for severance)? What will Kaya Henderson's salary be as the interim chancellor?
Bill Turque: Working on that as we speak. Been looking around for a copy of her contract that's in my files somewhere. Don't know yet about Henderson's salary.
Q; Do you think that Mr. Gray offered her the position of do you think that she quit?
Bill Turque: That's something we're still trying to sort out. Late Friday afternoon, my colleague Valerie Strauss ran into Gray outside The Post building. He said then that he was still open to retaining Rhee and if he thought she was the best choice for the city he would "swallow it," meaning forget about all of the campaign season rhetoric. What exactly happened between then and now, we're not sure.
Q: I heard some people are surprised she didn't wait until the end of the school year or even the next. Me, I'm surprised she didn't split sooner. What do you think?
Bill Turque: I'm somewhere in the mushy middle. I didn't expect to stay until the end of the school year, but I thought she might stick longer than she did to smooth the transition. Henderson's appointment I think obviates some of those concerns.
Christopher Dean Hopkins
| October 13, 2010; 2:26 PM ET
Categories: Bill Turque, Education, Michelle A. Rhee
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