When I was on the LSRT committee at my old school I remember seeing the budget for the first time. Our principal was trying to tell us that we had to lose several teachers due to the budget being short. One of the first things I noticed was that every position was budgeted at the highest teacher salary level at that time – around $80,000. I noted that we only had 4 teachers out of 20 or so teachers who were making that amount. The average salary was around $50,000 with quite a few at the lower end of the salary scale due to being new (1-3 years) teachers. When I redid the math not only did it wipe out the deficit but we had a $90,000 surplus. I asked at the time why DCPS didn’t employ actual accounting when figuring their budget. No one could give me an answer. There was no accounting for supplies, whether janitorial or teacher supplies we were given one lump sum to deal with and no one asked for an itemized accounting. Think what would happen to most businesses if they ran their operations in such a manner.
Michelle Rhee knew this. You cannot work in DCPS and not know this. As a “business” woman who wants to see public schools run on a corporate model she certainly would have looked at how our system operates, don’t you think? And that brings us to the brazen, outrageous statement she made to the DC Council about having a $34,000,000 surplus after thinking there was a deficit. This was after she hired 900 new teachers in July only to “discover” this LOOMING deficit in the fall and have to fire 300 teachers (not 266 because that was the initial sweep, others were fired afterwards on the same RIF). With management such as this who needs chaos? Either Ms. Rhee is a congenital liar, a deliberate deceiver or totally inept and way out of her league in running this school system. You decide. But I do know this – despite the pleas of George Parker and Randi Weingarten – signing a contract, a binding legal document, with someone who plays with the truth as easily as does Ms. Rhee is nothing if not insane. I’d rather ink a deal with Satan, at least then I know where my soul is going. VOTE NO.