Saturday, November 07, 2009

Weast Throws Council Under the Bus on School Funding Dispute (Updated)

In a statement released to the media but not to County Council Members, MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast puts the blame squarely on the council for the county's setback on school funding. Weast has long run an empire at MCPS, with an independent line to the Washington Post's editorial writers and a condescending attitude to his board and local elected officials. But the blunt language and threatening final paragraph in his statement is sure to draw fury from Rockville.

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised, at the Attorney General’s ruling. We had serious concerns that the County Council’s plan did not meet the Maintenance of Effort provision and, unfortunately, we were correct. Now, we may face a fine from the state and the brunt of that burden will be felt by our students and teachers at a very critical time.”

“We were trying to do the right thing: We wanted to help the county with its budget problems. We asked the state for a waiver of the MOE provision and we were denied. We offered suggestions and ideas to the County Council for legal ways we could help them and we were not listened to. In the end, we had a solution pushed upon us that, it turns out, was illegal. I guess no good deed goes unpunished.”

“Over the next several days, we will be discussing the impact of this ruling. I can promise you this: We will have a full Maintenance of Effort budget in fiscal year 2011. Never again will we put our employees and students in this position.”
Update: Council Member Valerie Ervin, Chair of the Council's Education Committee, has called Weast a “rogue superintendent.”