Noah Wepman speaks!
Ever since his abrupt departure from District government last fall, following a bitter debate over the financial basis for Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's decision to lay off 266 teachers, former DCPS chief financial officer Noah Wepman has politely declined interview requests.
It was Wepman who acknowledged to the D.C. Council at a rancorous Oct. 29 hearing that he never told his boss, District Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, about millions in "spending pressures" in the 2010 schools budget that helped drive the layoffs. Wepman never got around to disclosing the problems to Gandhi before he certified the budget as balanced.
Wepman is also believed to have had a hand in overestimating the average teacher salary and benefit levels ($81,000), creating the infamous $34 million surplus that Rhee wanted to use to underwrite part of teacher pay raises in the new proposed contract. That is until Gandhi said last week that $30 million of it didn't exist. It has raised questions about whether anyone really knows how DCPS uses its money.
But Wepman is listed as a panelist for a May 4 Urban Institute discussion entitled "The Big Disconnect: Spending Policies, School Priorities and Student Achievement." It doesn't exactly deal with the issues that led to his departure--it's about skewed spending that favors athletics and other electives over core subjects--but who knows? Maybe the silent bean counter will finally spill a bean or two.
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