Ben Joravsky’s recent cover story on Chicago Public Schools cutbacks and bureaucratic raises has been generating heat recently. But as if to prove to Chicago that, yes, it can get worse, here’s what’s happening in the DC schools and why they’re doling out raises:

…retroactive raises are being funded by a $34 million DCPS surplus… less than eight months ago, the school system was pleading poverty and ordered layoffs for 266 teachers to close a $40M budget gap…

The new surplus didn’t come from someone doing a good job at something.

The surplus, [chancellor Michelle] Rhee told the room, was the result of a miscalculation by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. Specifically, she said expense projections had been based on an average teacher salary of $81,000 when the actual figure is nearly $15,000 less.