Friday, January 12, 2007

Leggett hacks Weast budget request by 95 percent

New Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is doing just what he promised he would do, and is carefully scrutinizing the MCPS annual budget for waste, fraud and abuse.

He also fired a warning shot at freespending Superintendent Jerry Weast, recommending that Weast's $28 million budget to reduce "portable" classrooms be hacked nearly 95 percent to $1.8 million.

Leggett seems suspicious of the turf-possessive superintendent.

Not dependent on developers for his campaign funding, Leggett says he will move "more cautiously" rather than "full speed ahead" on capital construction projects, the Washington Post reports.

Weast announced a plan to slash the number of unpopular and often unhealthy unportable classrooms last October, with "considerable fanfare," just before the elections.

Marilyn Praisner, the new County Council president, agrees with Leggett. She says in the Post that "starting cautiously is a good idea."

Leggett's budget signal comes just days after the school board rebuffed Weast's attempt to railroad through a controversial set of middle school reforms before the board members could understand what they were all about.