More Turmoil in DC

Published June 1, 1998

The former U.S. Army general who took control of the public schools in the nation’s capital in January 1997 has resigned. Running the city’s schools had been his toughest job, said 71-year-old Julius W. Becton Jr. in late March, when he announced his intention to resign effective June 30.

Soon after his announcement, members of the financial control board blamed Becton for a $62 million budget deficit. Saying the deficit was the result of the board’s own spending assumptions, Becton decided to quit earlier and left on April 30. The board named Arlene Ackerman, chief academic officer of the district, as the next superintendent.

The controversial Marcus Garvey Charter School will close at the end of the school year. On May 18, the District of Columbia Board of Education voted to remove the school’s charter, citing “a pattern of fiscal mismanagement.” Former principal Mary A.T. Anigbo and three staffers were convicted on assault charges following a 1996 incident at the school. (See “DC Principal, Students Assault Reporter,” School Reform News, February 1997.)