Thursday, June 01, 2006

County Council puts two in charge of MCPS budget

Reflecting a lack of confidence in the Board of Education's ability to manage the Montgomery public school system (MCPS), the County Council added two analysts to monitor the system's $1.85 billion budget.

The Seven Locks/Kendale scandal triggered the move, according to the Washington Post.

The current board majority insists that the county has no right to audit how MCPS spends the tax dollars that the council appropriates to spend on public education.

In approving a huge 7.4 percent increase in public school spending over last year, the County Council "also bolstered its oversight capacity by adding two analysts to exclusively focus on the Montgomery County Public Schools budget," according to a Council news release in the Post.

"The additional 'oversight' comes as some County Council members have begun to suggest there should be closer scrutiny of school system operations -- a sentiment likely fueled by the recent battle over Seven Locks Elementary School," reporters Lori Aratani and Ann Marimow write.

"But even as school board members and the County Council made up the day the deal was struck, the budget item sends a clear message: The desire for more oversight lives on."