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Posted at 8:55 AM ET, 03/11/2011

DCPS principals get budget talking points

By Bill Turque

Even with the late addition of about $50 million in new projected revenue, some D.C.public schools are facing nasty cuts in their proposed FY 12 budgets. Parents at School Without Walls ($811,000 reduction) MacFarland Middle School ($709,000) and Whittier Education Campus ($791,000) are among the stakeholders likely to have pointed questions for principals.

To help school leaders respond, Acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson's office has distributed a memo with a series of talking points, or "proposed messages." So if you hear any of the following, you'll know that your principal has been doing his or her homework:

"The education of our students is the top priority for DCPS, from the chancellor to every employee and staff member."

"We appreciate Mayor Gray's support of quality education and his faith in the work that we do in each of our schools."

"His additional budget allocation helped to soften the impact of budget cuts on our classrooms and students."

"We are thoughtfully examining our allocations and considering our needs in order to establish the best next steps for our students and to be good fiscal stewards of our resources."

"We are doing our part to help DCPS live within a balanced budget."

"While we are facing these difficult financial times, we remain committed to not compromising the integrity and high quality of the education we offer."

Talking points you're not likely to hear:

"We'd have a few more dollars to work with if Mayor Gray hadn't loaded up on senior staff and paid them more than their Fenty administration counterparts."

"We're hoping to use Allen Sessoms' frequent flyer miles to add a couple of extra teaching positions."

"Our classrooms are fully loaded with the supplies they need."

By Bill Turque  | March 11, 2011; 8:55 AM ET
 
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Comments

We're leasing pricy vehicles with pricy leases instead of buying supplies.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | March 11, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

We appreciate Mayor Gray's support of quality education and his faith in the work that we do in each of our schools."

And, the bull shxt keeps on flying.

Posted by: harrypotter2 | March 11, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Is Anita Dunn's PR shop back in the schools working for Kaya this time?

If so, her work is definitely going down hill. HarryPotter is right -- this sounds like BS, especially this one:

"We are thoughtfully examining our allocations and considering our needs in order to establish the best next steps for our students and to be good fiscal stewards of our resources."

Maybe central office should offer cash prizes to principals willing to deliver that line.

Posted by: efavorite | March 11, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

If this is happening then we don't have principals at the helm we have over-paid puppets doing the work of principals. Have we started recruiting "Stepford" type principals or is this a test of loyalty?

Okay, LSATs get your budget talking response points ready and let'em have it with both barrels. I am not worried at what they are telling them to say...it is that "forbidden" word or dialogue that always comeback to haunt DCPS employees.

Just a word of advice Kaya, this is not transparency by no means.


Posted by: PowerandPride | March 11, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

As per Mary Levy, we are in an information vacuum, with nothing but anecdotes. Maybe the veteran reporter could start keeping, with help of his employer, a work-sheet of school budgets? Then he might tell us how large the cut at Walls is relative to its total budget, and where this year's Walls budget is, per pupil, in comparison to other DCPS high schools.

Posted by: incredulous | March 11, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

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