Chancellor Michelle Rhee is asking for an extra $81,000,000.00 to fix the city's special education program. Mayor Fenty had previously said that he wouldn't ask for more cash for schools. The problem was mismanagement, not lack of funds. Apparently, at least for the special education program, it was both.
And then there's this: "District Council Chair Vincent C. Gray has said privately that he'll call hearings if Fenty reneged on his promise to stay within the budget."
Now, $81,000,000.00 isn't peanuts. If the city's special ed programs can be fixed without spending all that extra money, then obviously that avenue should be pursued. Gray is right to explore every possibility before committing to such a large budget increase.
Of course, when things like this happen, it's nice to have some extra cash lying around. You never know when the city will need another $81M to fix the schools or another $79M to keep the only hospital east of the Anacostia open. That extra money can be a godsend for the people who need it most.
You see where this is going, right?
Let me point out that Gray was one of the legislators who flip-flopped on the $611,000,000.00 stadium deal. He voted against the stadium lease. Four hours later, he changed his mind. I consider Gray extra-responsible for the ludicrous payoff that the Lerners and Major League Baseball received.
So, Chairman Gray, please conduct hearings on the $81M increase in education funding. But remember that your reckless vote to spend $611,000,000.00 on a playground looms large over everything you say and everything you do. In other words, Mr. Gray, I expect you to support Rhee and Fenty on this. If you say the city can't afford it, may God have mercy on your soul.