Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Leggett to scrutinize MCPS budget

Newly inaugurated Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says the party's over for the controversial public schools superintendent.

From now on, the school budget will undergo some serious scrutiny - something Superintendent Jerry Weast has fought when leaders tried to look in the past.

Referencing Weast's 2007 budget proposal, Leggett tells the Washington Post that he plans to "look at it much more carefully" than his predecessor and the County Council have in recent years.

Doug Duncan and Weast did under-the-table real estate deals together to try to turn public school property over to developers, and they got caught when Seven Locks Elementary School parents issued a spirited challenge.

Weast is in trouble on the County Council, as well. His crony Michael Subin, who for 20 years chaired the education committee, was thrown out of office in September and replaced on the panel by arch critic Valerie Ervin.

Weast fought the county Inspector General's right to monitor the MCPS budget - something not lost on Leggett, who created the IG office and wants to strengthen it.

With MCPS eating up about half the county's budget, Leggett says, "it should withstand that kind of analysis, and if they can't, then something is wrong."