D.C. public schools, largely protected from cuts in Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed 2010 budget, are tightening up for the remainder of the current fiscal year that ends Sept 30.
Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee sent word to principals late Friday that local school budgets are effectively frozen until then. All spending requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and approved only if deemed to be critical.
Same for job vacancies, which are to be filled in the final 10 weeks of the academic year only to ensure that "services are delivered to our students or necessary to comply with current law," according to Rhee's e-mail.
While winding down spending toward the end of the school year is customary, administrators are usually given a few days notice, according to one veteran principal, who wonders if budget problems in the central office have compelled Rhee to snatch money back from the schools during the last quarter of the year.
Rhee's spokeswoman, Dena Iverson, said she was not aware of the status of the school budgets.