"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rhee "Finds" $34 Million and Loses Last Cent of Credibility

With her Walmart approved contract and its corporate underwriting becoming the albatross that could sink hers and Fenty's political futures, the Not Ready for Prime Time Players in Michelle Rhee's office suddenly announce the digging up in Februrary, no less, of 34 million extra dollars that can now go to reduce the Oligarchs' promised contribution to the tentative teacher contract--a planned contribution that has now shrunk from $65 million to $7 million. Miraculous, or as Councilman, Jim Graham, more aptly said yesterday "curiouser and curiouser."

It was only last Fall that Rhee suddenly misplaced $43 million, enough to warrant the firing of 266 teachers and 300 other school employees. Meanwhile, prostisuits Randi Weingarten and George Parker continue, unbelievably, to urge teachers to ratify the shell game contract that is not worth the paper that it is written on. With broad powers given to Rhee by the contract to handle cases of financial necessity, all she will need to do to get Broad's way cleared for charters and TFAers is to continue the fraudulent form of leadership already deeply documented. If teachers ratify this contract, they will have acknowledged they are not nearly smart enough to teach.

From Bill Turque:

By Bill Turque
Wednesday, April 14, 2010; B01

Teachers union leaders angrily accused D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee of unethical behavior Tuesday by failing to disclose the discovery of a $34 million surplus in the school system budget in February, three months after laying off 266 teachers because of what she described as a budget shortfall.

News of the surplus comes at a critical time for Rhee and the teachers union, who just last week announced a tentative contract agreement that ended more than two years of often rancorous bargaining. The two sides were close to a deal late last summer when union anger over Rhee's plans for layoffs delayed its completion.

. . . .

"We got this information very late in the game," Rhee said. "The most important thing is for people to look forward."

Tuesday's meeting started with what appeared to be heartening news for the council, which had raised numerous questions at a Monday budget hearing about how the proposed contract -- which promises teachers a 20 percent pay increase over five years -- would be financed in a tight fiscal environment.

Rhee said that raises in the first two years of the five-year agreement, which are retroactive base salary increases of 3 percent each for 2008 and 2009, would be paid for by $22 million in unspent federal funding. She said the third year of the pact, which calls for a 4 percent raise in the current fiscal year, would be financed by a $34 million surplus and $7 million from private foundations.

Council members, led by Chairman Vincent C. Gray, expressed astonishment at the sudden windfall. Gray, who is challenging Rhee's boss, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, in the Democratic mayoral primary in September, said that if he were a laid-off teacher, he'd be livid. "I'd be about ready to put my hands around somebody's throat," he said.

He added: "People lost their jobs under a budget deficit that didn't exist. That's what I heard today."

"It's just too convenient," said council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), who likened the school system's budgeting process to a "three-card monte game."

"This just gets curiouser and curiouser," council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said.

Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) asked Rhee whether she would be willing to consider reinstating the laid-off teachers in light of the new budget situation. Rhee said no.

"Because we are in a completely different situation now," she said.

Members also were upset with Gandhi, who made no mention of the surplus at Monday's hearing, which lasted more than five hours.

Gandhi did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Through his spokesman, David Umansky, he said: "All of the facts, figures and information concerning the finances of the teachers contract will be released when the CFO's analysis of the contract is made public."

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