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Vincent C. Gray and the remainder of the D.C. Council have just gaveled to order a hearing on the “causes, implementation, and impact” of the D.C. Public School layoffs earlier this month.

LL will be following along on Channel 13 and live blogging the proceedings. (Actually, LL will be livetweeting and pasting those over here at City Desk.)

[Last update 7:05 p.m.]

# LL takeaway 10: LL is not sure if he can do this again tomorrow for the parks contracts hearing. 7 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 9: As every CM said, the tone is awful. Kwame was right; if the political games cont’s, reform will crash and burn. 8 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 8: Council did establish that the process did evade its authority and is possibly illegal. That’s a win for Gray. 14 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 7: Council did not establish beyond a doubt that this was done to fire bad teachers outside due process. That’s a win for Rhee. 16 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 6: Rhee gave good reasons for the hiring of 900+ teachers ahead of the cuts. Her reasons for delaying the cuts were not as good. 18 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 5: Noah Wepman is not very good in hearings. Smart, sure, but Gandhi/Rhee need to keep this guy away from microphones. 21 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 4: Michelle Rhee is very, very good in council hearings. She keeps an even tone and knows when to call CMs on their BS. 22 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 3: Agency CFOs are supposed to be independent of agency execs and report direct to CFO. At DCPS, this seems not to be the case. 23 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 2: Once again, Peter Nickles made the decision that kept council out of advisory role. Add it to the list. 25 minutes ago

# LL takeaway 1: By shifting cuts from summer school to teachers, executive again ignored council directive. Add it to the list. 26 minutes ago

# Hearing is adjourned. Phew!32 minutes ago

# If money’s been moved (per Wepman) to summer sch., that’s illegal. If not moved (per Rhee), budget press. is less, and RIF was unnecessary.32 minutes ago

# Wrapping up, Gray says “a council budget action…was taken by you and taken by you as reason to expand the RIF.”35 minutes ago

# Given reps of Nickles, Jim Sandman, Rhee says she “felt very confident of the legality” of RIF35 minutes ago

# Risk of lawsuits “far outweighed by the benefits” of doing subjective (not seniority-based) RIF, Rhee says.37 minutes ago

# “We’ve opened ourself to a lot more litigation.” Rhee says “we can’t sacrifice making the right decisions b/c we think we might get sued”39 minutes ago

# Rhee says “substantively we are very very close” but union is focused now on fighting RIF.41 minutes ago

# Wells is back on possible litigation. “Way to avoid this is to have an agreed-on labor contract. Where are we?”41 minutes ago

# Catania: “I think u needd a topflight govt affairs person whos a top Lt. of yours….We cannot have these surprises.” Fenty needs the same.about 1 hour ago

# Catania: “DCPS as we knew it, if not for the reforms of you and this mayor, would be gone within 10 years.”about 1 hour ago

# “On the road to reform,” says Catania, “there are going to be occasions when there are injustices along that road.”about 1 hour ago

# Man, talk about no respect. No one can get Wepman;s name right. Barry: “I’ve been very disappoint in Mr. Wem…Wepman.”about 1 hour ago

# Has Spanish been eliminated at Ballou? Barry says yes; Rhee says no!about 1 hour ago

# Rhee tells Barry it’s OK for a teacher to get fired by phone. Barry: “I give up on this one! That’s absurd! That’s just ridiculous!”about 1 hour ago

# Barry says he is against ineffective teachers but seems incapable of believing that any of the fired teachers were in that categoryabout 1 hour ago

# Lot of Seinfeld refs at this hearing. Rhee’s wearing the puffy shirt; Gordon McDonald appears to be a high talker.about 1 hour ago

# MAB to Wepman: “You seem to be kind of out somewhere else…Dr. Gandhi didn’t seem to know what you’re doing.”about 1 hour ago

# People who had been suspended for corporal punishment etc.; “not people you or i would want teaching our children.”about 1 hour ago

# Rhee came armed with examples of bad teachers fired. “some people, if you saw what was in their file, you would be shocked.”about 1 hour ago

# Rhee tells MAB: “I don’t think it is a good idea in a blanket away to bring back all the people who were RIF’d”about 1 hour ago

# If MAB asks anything about UDC, LL is going to gag…about 2 hours ago

# HTJ “finds it hard to believe” that Rhee knows nothing about consulting contract. This apparently has nothing to do w/ the RIF.about 2 hours ago

# HTJ heard that someone from California is doing evaluations for a near-$1M contract. Rhee says there is consultant on contract.about 2 hours ago

# HTJ needs his own McKinley hearing.about 2 hours ago

# Let’s talk AIDS! No, wait…let’s talk aides!about 2 hours ago

# What is the Citywide Displaced Employees Program? HTJ wants DCPS to participate!about 2 hours ago

# Harry Thomas brings up recruitment letters that are still going out to potential teachers (more here: http://bit.ly/2vc3qI)about 2 hours ago

# Woo hoo! Last round! We could be done by 7!about 2 hours ago

# Rhee says this isn’t the first time that she’s talked about making a decision to shift cuts from summer school to RIF. Gray is skeptical.about 2 hours ago

# Rhee says once budget problem presented itself, “school needs” took precedence over spec-ed capacity building. Not her best answer.about 2 hours ago

# Gray’s got a gotcha—-why did you fire 29 special ed teachers if you were trying to hire many more? Rheeabout 2 hours ago

# LL is just noticing that Rhee is wearing some kind of poofy pirate shirt. Not ugly, just…poofy.about 2 hours ago

# She’s now explaining what she chose to RIF and wqualize at the same time.about 2 hours ago

# Rhee says increased hiring this year was due to more ambitious school programs, plus a need for SpEd teachers to build capacityabout 2 hours ago

# Rhee disputes that DCPS hired many more teachers than average, cites 10-yr avg of 600 to 700. And in 1999, 1,121 were hired.about 2 hours ago

# Wells says anyone (cough, Nickles) advising an override of a council line item designation has “selective amnesia”about 2 hours ago

# Wells’ take: When mayoral takeover was done, mayor didn’t want line-item budget control, said should be “collaboration with the council.”about 2 hours ago

# Tommy Wells: “I know that the schools in Ward 6 have improved.”about 2 hours ago

# Catania to Rhee: “We are all grownups and we all have to get past our personality issues….I need you to be a better communicator.”about 2 hours ago

# Catania: “I am frustrated by all the parties involved. We are fighting the old battle of the school takeover…this is the stalking horse.”about 2 hours ago

# Catania’s point: Rhee is free to underspend on teachers w/o council approval, then send the savings over to restore the summer school budgetabout 2 hours ago

# Catania pulls out home rule charter; seems to be trying to debunk this illegal reprogramming charge.about 3 hours ago

# Rhee says she had seen budget pressures develop, but she expected that she’d be able to make central office cuts to avoid teacher layoffs.about 3 hours ago

# Rhee calls notion she packed the DCPS teaching corps in order to force RIF “absolutely incorrect.”about 3 hours ago

# Of 934 teachers hired, more than 900 had been hired by end of July, when budget pressure was supposedly discovered, Rhee says.about 3 hours ago

# Graham having real trouble remembering Noah Wepman’s name.about 3 hours ago

# Graham: “Well. Hasn’t this been an interesting day.” He apparently had been anticipating “harmony and camaraderie.”about 3 hours ago

# Kwame tells Wepman: “You should be fired.”about 3 hours ago

# Rhee says “when i weighed those two things out, keeping the summer school program intact was in the best interest of children.”about 3 hours ago

# Kwame: “I’m jumping off the train. I’m not going to let my kids crash and burn.” What does that mean?about 3 hours ago

# “we have to take a different tone. you have to take a different tone,” says Kwame. “because the tone you’re using isn’t working.”about 3 hours ago

# Kwame: “The way that we’re going about this school reform, we’re gonna crash and burn.”about 3 hours ago

# Barry: “I’m a supporter of the RE-form. I mean, I didn’t sign up for this, but I voted for the RE-form.”about 3 hours ago

# Barry tells Rhee he “resent[s] this attitude we can make change the way we want to, to hell with the council”about 3 hours ago

# Then Wepman says, even though there was no reprogramming, he followed the law.about 3 hours ago

# Gray does a smart thing here; brings Gordon McDonald from CFO’s office, who testifies that DCPS didn’t do reprogrammingabout 3 hours ago

# Wepman says that his “interpretation of the UPSFF, this action did not necessitate a reprogramming,” which would’ve gone for council reviewabout 3 hours ago

# Principals are “terrified,” Barry says. Also says “parental involvement in Ward 8 is even lower than where it was when you came.”about 3 hours ago

# It’s Barry time! He wants to talk “atmosphere, the toxicity, the atmosphere of disrespect”about 3 hours ago

# M Brown presses Rhee on “intimidation factor.” Says principal told him, “If I ask about a maint. issue, I could lose my job.”about 3 hours ago

# M Brown: “Maybe we can get some NAEP officials in here…”about 3 hours ago

# MAB and Rhee are bickering over test scores! “Everyone’s wrong but you!” says MABabout 3 hours ago

# Rhee smacks MAB for saying NYC reform isn’t working, noting, inter alia, that mayoral control was renewed. MAB cites NYT as saying otherwiseabout 3 hours ago

# M Brown says there has been “unbelievable disrespect and lack of dignity” for labor. “Reforming the reform”!about 3 hours ago

# Michael Brown starts by noting that he didn’t vote for Rhee confirmation. Calls a “crutch” when she says she acts in best interests of kidsabout 3 hours ago

# “What you described is different from what actually happened at McKinley” says Thomasabout 3 hours ago

# Ah yes! Peter Nickles! DCPS GC Jim Sandman, too. No written opinion was rendered.about 3 hours ago

# Rhymes with “Neter Pickles”about 3 hours ago

# HTJ is pointing fingers. Literally. He wants to know who advised her to ignore council spending directive. LL thinks he knows the answer!about 3 hours ago

# Harry Thomas Jr. says Rhee “defied, broke, and did not follow the law.” Oh yeah, “disrespected” it, too.about 4 hours ago

# Rhee says she’ll play nice in the future.about 4 hours ago

# Evans: “We cannot continue to have this kind of craziness.”about 4 hours ago

# “The cuts could have been made in a way that could have caused less acrimony,” Rhee says, but that would not have been as good for kidsabout 4 hours ago

# It is Rhee’s “professional opinion” that RIF was done in such a way that was in the best interests of children.about 4 hours ago

# Evans is flinging some softballs here.about 4 hours ago

# Evans says to Rhee it “would have been better to let us know” that she had ignored summer school directive. I’ll say.?about 4 hours ago

# Evans felt school cuts “were something we had to do”; he’s long been proud of his willingness to cut any agency in govtabout 4 hours ago

# Rhee: “was within my authority as agency head” to move cuts from summer school to RIF. Gray: “Maybe we should just disband this council.”about 4 hours ago

# Rhee remembers time when she tried to get Gray on the phone to talk RIFs, and he wasn’t available.about 4 hours ago

# Rhee tries asking Gray a question. Says Gray: ‘If you want to ask questions, run for the council and come up here.’about 4 hours ago

# Gray is losing it a bit. Rhee has come loaded with good talking points, pointing out that July budget decisions weren’t open to gen publicabout 4 hours ago

# “In times when you make difficult decision, that things don’t happen in the best manner.” Throws it right back at Gray!about 4 hours ago

# Gray is going off on the council-blaming. Yikes. “no question in my mind” that intention was to lay resp. at council doorstepabout 4 hours ago

# Smart line from Rhee: compares her move to council’s “hard decision to cut city budget rather than use reserve funds”about 4 hours ago

# link to McCartney column: http://bit.ly/Wm1F1about 4 hours ago

# She points out that the Post retracted the main conclusion of the column—-that private money could have filled the budget gapabout 4 hours ago

# Oof, Rhee goes hard after Bob McCartney column suggesting that private money could have covered the RIFabout 4 hours ago

# Powerpoint: “Officers were not instructed to escort staff from the building, stand at doorways, or implement the RIF.”about 4 hours ago

# Having cops in schools was an “unfortunate coincidence” with demise of Hawk One, Rhee says.about 4 hours ago

# Rhee says that “disruptions” were “not widespread”about 4 hours ago

# Rhee on “misunderstandings”…only 7% of those fired had 25+ yrs experience; 54% had 10 yrs or lessabout 4 hours ago

# Rhee is now going through the RIF process.about 4 hours ago

# Rhee says cutting summer school would have “dramatically affect[ed] graduation rates.”about 4 hours ago

# To wit: ‘the av. age of the District’s teachers is 42, the av. age of those who were [fired] is 48. The av. age of the 934 new hires is 32.’about 4 hours ago

# Bill Turque has a story up on pre-hearing protests http://bit.ly/3GL79Y interesting tidbit on RIF’d teacher demographicsabout 4 hours ago

# There’s a Powerpoint!about 4 hours ago

# “I take full resp for my management decision” to cut teachers rather than summer school, Rhee says.about 4 hours ago

# Here we go! Rhee starts her testimony blaming controversy on “natural tensions after a staff reduction plus some misconceptions”about 4 hours ago

# Also Gray’s absolution of Gandhi was telling. He wants to crucify Wepman, but it looks bad for Gandhi to have an agency CFO freelancingabout 5 hours ago

# LL halftime thoughts: Gray needs to cut the demagoguery. He’s scoring his points, but if this is seen as inquisition, the less that mattersabout 5 hours ago

# Five minute break, then Rhee is up. So far so bad for her side. Council got Wepman to admit summer school directive was ignored.about 5 hours ago

# Gray says, “Mr. Wepman, why don’t you stay?” He didn’t want to hear that.about 5 hours ago

# Gray wants a private meeting w Gandhi ASAP, saying testimony “raises some questions about all the actions that have been taken”about 5 hours ago

# Barry is back: “this CFO team is not as independent as it ought to be.” Tells Gandhi to “pay more attn to this situation.” He has a point.about 5 hours ago

# Gray lays it out: ‘This gov’t need to find a way to bring these people back to their jobs.’ Calls testimony ‘unbelievable.’about 5 hours ago

# Picture emerging: that DCPS was in its own little world when assembling its budget, that Wepman was more loyal to Rhee than indpndt CFOabout 5 hours ago

# Gandhi says he was not aware of $13M in spending pressures when certifying the 2010 DCPS budgetabout 5 hours ago

# Gray is trying to nail Wepman on DCPS ignoring council directive to cut summer school, not teachers. And he does.about 5 hours ago

# Wepman won’t say who first proposed RIF; mentions “conv’s with the chancellor and members of her mgt team.”about 5 hours ago

# Now Mary Cheh is digging into Wepman. He says, besides RIF, options were central office cuts, athletics, summer school, after-schoolabout 5 hours ago

# Before Rhee starts testimony, LL is going to grab lunch. Back in 10!about 6 hours ago

# Catania is trying like hell to bail Rhee out from the hole she dug by blaming the cuts on the council rather than “spending pressures.”about 6 hours ago

# Gandhi says that it “is not so” that DCPS has overspent. Generates great laughter, given that that was rationale for RIF…about 6 hours ago

# Jim Graham doesn’t know Wepman’s nameabout 6 hours ago

# LL would feel more sorry for Wepman if didn’t know very well that this sort of inquisition was comingabout 6 hours ago

# Gray says Wepman ‘gives further credence to the theory that there were people who were unwanted & this was a great opp to get rid of them.’about 6 hours ago

# Gray calls Wepman evasions on why fire old rather than new ‘disingenuous’ and says it ‘doesn’t do service to the position that you hold.’about 6 hours ago

# Gray quite relishes making Wepman queasy. He’s doing it with a basic question: If 990 were hired and 300 were fired, why not just hire 600?about 6 hours ago

# Wepman not very good at this. Needed some “murder boards” or something….about 6 hours ago

# Rumble when Wepman admits that new teachers were offered jobs when a hiring freeze had been put in place. Not going too well for him.about 6 hours ago

# Wepman on mentioning RIF to Gandhi’s shop: ‘In retrospect, I probably should have done it earlier.’about 6 hours ago

# Gandhi says that comms between DCPS CFO and him “should have been better.”about 6 hours ago

# Gray tells Wepman to cut out the “extraneous rhetoric”; most of that, however, seems to come from the other side of the dais.about 6 hours ago

# Wepman says multiple options were on the table to deal with budget issues. There were 10 to 15, he says.about 6 hours ago

# In response to M Brown question, Gandhi says his information “is as authentic, as objective, as correct as we know.”about 6 hours ago

# Wells asks if Gandhi gave opinion to Rhee whether RIF was necessary. Nat: “We don’t advise the chancellor whether to RIF people or not.”about 6 hours ago

# Wepman says DCPS spent $40M in stimulus money on teacher salaries; that without it, the problem would have been doubled.about 6 hours ago

# Wells is also concerned about possible liability, which he places at potentially $80M or moreabout 6 hours ago

# Tommy Wells shows up, says he’s a reform supporter, etc, but “I do not want reform…to be undermined by unnecessary and costly litigation.”about 6 hours ago

# Yvette says she “doesn’t want to beat a dead horse”; Gray tells her, “it’s been beaten for 2 mos already. Keep beating it!”about 7 hours ago

# Graham to Gandhi: “I have the impression that you don;t want to answer this question” on how much of $$ gap can be attributed to councilabout 7 hours ago

# Graham says layoffs “should not have been laid at the doorstep of the council.”about 7 hours ago

# Catania’s point: Did RIF reflect spending pressures from prior year(s)? That would be a more palatable explanation than council cuts.about 7 hours ago

# Ooh, Catania vs. Gandhi—-always a fun time.about 7 hours ago

# “Any good manager,” Gray says should to find money to cover a 1.6 percent cut without mass layoffs. Barry calls the RIF ‘diabolical.’about 7 hours ago

# Gray volunteers an answer: “The answer to me is, no, it didn’t have to be done this way.”about 7 hours ago

# Barry wants Gandhi to say that DCPS would have been facing same budget pressures without council cuts. Gandhi won’t say it.about 7 hours ago

# Wepman says, given the fiscal pressures, that he “advised that chancellor that we had to take some action.”about 7 hours ago

# Barry wants to know about Wepman’s comms with Rhee b/c “Michelle Rhee has been using different numbers at different times.”about 7 hours ago

# Thomas says, “I won’t follow that line of questioning,” as though he could. Much laughter!about 7 hours ago

# Is Gandhi digging the hole deeper for Rhee and Fenty?about 7 hours ago

# Evans is confused by CFO explanations of why there was a supposed $8M “decrease” in per-student funding, when council froze the formula.about 7 hours ago

# Says Jack Evans: ‘I’m starting to understand what happened here…’ Wants more detail on summer school spending.about 7 hours ago

# Gandhi stipulates that there was no cut in the per-student funding formula, that it was held constant from last year.about 7 hours ago

# Gandhi is asked a question by Gray; Gandhi turns to Wepman, says ‘Do you want to answer that?’ Says Gray, ‘Is that a punt Dr. Gandhi?’about 7 hours ago

# “What does [a cut to] summer school beginning in the middle of June have to do with RF’ing teachers?” asks Grayabout 7 hours ago

# Gandhi says stim guidelines “encourages seemingly contradictory decisions”—-between saving jobs and avoiding short term spending commitmentabout 8 hours ago

# “Cuts to local funds cannot always be replaced by stimulus funds,” Gandhi says.about 8 hours ago

# Now he’s describing possible uses of stimulus funds in the D.C. Public Schoolsabout 8 hours ago

# Nat Gandhi is reading off a lot of numbers now. What it all means, we will soon find out.about 8 hours ago

# With Gandhi: Budget chief Gordon McDonald; David Hines, budget deputy in charge of education; and DCPS CFO Noah Wepmanabout 8 hours ago

# It’s Gandhi time!about 8 hours ago

# Bowser tells union folks what she thinks they want.about 8 hours ago

# Bowser’s up. She wants to know: “Why were so many hired?” And “was there a pattern in who was let go?”about 8 hours ago

# “collaborative community of success for our students and our teachers” is what Yvette wants. Expect to hear “collaborative” a lot, too.about 8 hours ago

# Yvette’s turn. “what has frustr. me the most is that my integrity as a CM has been challenged.” refers to “mistruths” in DCPS explanationsabout 8 hours ago

# Catania smacks up the unions a bit.about 8 hours ago

# LL is trying to livetweet and finish LLD at the same time. Please bear with him.about 8 hours ago

# But Catania is “not about to organize the school system around the mortgages of adults”about 8 hours ago

# “there certainly have been missteps in the path of reform,” says Catania, and says there are “legitimate concerns” about the RIFabout 8 hours ago

# David Catania steps up. “What I’d like to talk about is how illiteracy really will kill you…due…to our failed school system”about 8 hours ago

# Jim Graham would have appreciated a little heads upabout 8 hours ago

# Jim Graham wonders about the geographic breakdown of layoffs “does it way something about where qualified teachers were located?”about 8 hours ago

# Jim Graham starts out: “We got a big problem here.” He refers to cops in classrooms, escorting teachers out.about 8 hours ago

# Kwame wants “true reform by any means necessary!” UNITEabout 8 hours ago

# Kwame: “I’m gonna move some legislation, cause we’re gonna do something about these absent minded parents!”about 8 hours ago

# Kwame wants “some level of respect.” Respect count is now 3.about 8 hours ago

# Kwame’s problem: That good teachers were let go, not bad teachers.about 8 hours ago

# Kwame Brown starts out on a hard-line reformist note: Bad teacher “need to go!” Don’t expect this to last.about 8 hours ago

# Barry says he doesn’t want Rhee out; “I want this chancellor to stay right here and reform this system for real”about 8 hours ago

# Barry says Rhee, Fenty “set this system back at least 10 years,” generates applause. Gray warns them to “applaud in your head.”about 8 hours ago

# Barry calls the firings “inhumane…uncompassionate” And “none of us should have signed on to this.”about 8 hours ago

# Ohh Marion. Decries “piss poor planning” leading up to layoffs.about 8 hours ago

# Oct. 2 was “the day justice died…compassion was killed,” says Barry.about 8 hours ago

# Barry: “I never ever seen it so bad…never ever seen the level of disrespect from” Fenty and Rhee. Says teachers are “terrorized”about 8 hours ago

# OMG, M Brown going on again about how UDC and DCPS don’t work together. Save it for another hearing!about 8 hours ago

# “There is a compassion issue,” Michael Brown says. Shoulda given teachers a chance to find new jobs!about 8 hours ago

# M Brown says there is a “level of intimidation that if you raise a question your job is on the line….That is not democracy.”about 8 hours ago

# Barry ticked that Vince skipped over him for Michael Brown. “Mr Chairman, I was here first!”about 8 hours ago

# Thomas wants “fairness, dignity, and respect to those we serve.” Expect to hear “respect” a lot today. LL will try to keep a count.about 8 hours ago

# HTJ: “If we’re going to put children first, then we should listen to the children sometimes.” In ref to McKinley protests.about 9 hours ago

# PLEASE GOD NO. Says Harry Thomas Jr: “All I can say is, here we go again, 18 more hours, whatever it takes.”about 9 hours ago

# Also: Were they illegal? Could this have been done “in a less disruptive fashion”?about 9 hours ago

# Evans asks: Were the actions necessary? Were they taken in students’ best interest?about 9 hours ago

# Here is the Sun editorial: http://bit.ly/4i4Hs1about 9 hours ago

# Gray: “Stop scapegoating!”about 9 hours ago

# Oh boy, Gray is already pulling out the “native Washingtonian” card. I don’t more at this from an academic or purely spectator perspective”about 9 hours ago

# Gray mentions Balt Sun editorial that compared reform efforts in that city with here. Says he “just happened upon it.” Perhaps in LL Daily?about 9 hours ago

# Gray describes “summer hiring frenzy of over 900 teachers”about 9 hours ago

# Gray cites “multiple inconsistent explanations by the executive”about 9 hours ago

# Vince fairly spits when he says he wants to knwo why the council was blamed for layoffs.about 9 hours ago

# Michelle Rhee is in the house, so that’s good! Also there: Nat Gandhiabout 9 hours ago

# LL is prepping to liveblog/tweet Michelle Rhee’s appearance before the D.C. Council. Stay tuned!about 9 hours ago