A few schools looking at big cuts under the initial FY2012 budget allocations may get a closer look from Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson. A number of school communities made their cases to Gray during his Monday evening budget hearing at Eastern High School, and he said Tuesday that School Within School at Peabody on Capitol Hill and Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School in Northeast made particularly compelling arguments.

Gray and Henderson are looking to cut $50 million from the DCPS budget while at the same time addressing some of the wide disparities in per-pupil funding at the high school level. School Within School, the Reggio Emilia Pre-K and Kindergarten program, faces a 23 percent cut --far larger than any other Ward 6 elementary or early childhood school. Phelps, which reopened in 2008, received a 17 percent reduction. Both schools represent portions of Gray’s education priorities: early childhood and career and technical education.

School Within School may also have a little extra juice working in its favor. Among the parents at Eastern Monday was former Connecticut Sen. Chris Chris Dodd, who has a kindergartner at School Within School. As it happened, Gray saw him later that evening at a dinner party.

Gray said Tuesday he can only promise a second look, not big extra dollars. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of making sure you’re communicating to people what your thinking is,” he said.