September 24, 2010

Is Rhee heading to MOCO?

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Can you run a world-class education system on a budget? Do you know someone who can? You might want to point them in the direction of the Montgomery County Board of Education. After more than a decade as Montgomery County School Superintendent, Dr. Jerry Weast will be leaving at the end of the school year. The resignation has prompted the Montgomery County School Board to begin the search for a new school chief.

In a meeting with Montgomery County's Council this week, school board members suggested it would take a national search to find Weast's successor, and the person would need experience with a large school system. The council may not have to look too far. D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee may soon be in the market for a new job. Chris Barclay, a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education was asked if Rhee would have a shot in Montgomery County.

"I have no idea. This is way too early to talk about taking on any candidate," Barclay says. "To me, she would be just like any other person who applied for this job."

Rhee would be in charge of a system much larger than D.C.'s 45,000 students. Montgomery County Schools have 144,000 students enrolled in their system. Montgomery County schools, which enjoy a good reputation, face a number of challenges. Dr. Weast points out the student population continues to rise, and the number of students with growing needs is increasing. The number of students who are eligible for free and reduced meals - an indicator of low income - is 45,000.

The schools are also under pressure to meet a state funding formula - The Maintenance of Effort - and Montgomery County Council officials say it's unlikely the county can afford to meet the requirement for a third straight year. SOURCE: WTOP

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