Even today, almost eighteen months after she resigned, it’s nearly impossible to have a conversation about the DC Public Schools that does not somehow raise the specter of former Chancellor Michelle Rhee. But President Obama’s budget proposal, being announced today in Northern Virginia, might actually thread that needle.
According to today’s Washington Post, one of the President’s proposals is a pledge to offer greater autonomy to the District of Columbia in spending the tax money raised from District citizens and businesses. One goal, according to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, is to change the budget calendar so DC and the federal government are no longer on the same fiscal year.
This means that the D.C. Public Schools could finally join all the other school districts in the metropolitan area and have a budget that covered a single year. Imagine that–the school system could know how much money they’d have in their budget at the start of a fiscal year. And since personnel matters account for roughly 85 percent of a typical school district budget, that could avoid the need for mid-year teacher layoffs.
The proposal seems even to have garnered the support of Rep. Darrell Issa, and he and the President agree on, well, basically nothing else. This could be the one DCPS story that will not involve a fight between Rhee’s supporters and her detractors.
But if anyone offers you an over-under on that, I’d take the over.