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Board of Education Approves Amendments to Capital Improvements Program
The Montgomery County Board of Education approved amendments to the district’s six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) on November 21 that will help plan for future growth in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), while addressing capacity and facility issues throughout the district.
The Board approved a Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Budget appropriation request totaling $411.7 million and an Amended Fiscal Year 2017–2022 Capital Improvements Program request totaling $1.729 billion. The Board’s amendments include expenditure shifts for five projects, two new boundary studies and one site selection study. The Board added $150,000 to Superintendent Jack R. Smith’s recommendation to fund a feasibility study to reopen the former Woodward High School to address the space deficits at several Downcounty Consortium high schools as well as Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson and Walt Whitman high schools.
The Board set new boundaries for Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2 and Westland Middle School; approved Dr. Smith’s request for a feasibility study for the relocation of the Alternative Education Programs; and approved several recommendations to address the current short- and long-term projected space deficits in the elementary, middle, and high schools in the Walter Johnson Cluster.
“These amendments to the CIP will allow us to plan for continued growth throughout the county,” said Board President Michael Durso. “We deeply appreciate the strong support the county has shown for the growing capital needs of MCPS.”
Superintendent Jack R. Smith submitted his recommended CIP amendments to the Board on October 27. The Board held a work session and two public hearings on Dr. Smith’s recommendation before taking final action on Monday.
Every two years, the county approves a six-year CIP, which includes school construction and infrastructure projects. In off years, such as FY 2018, only amendments to the adopted CIP are considered.
MCPS is experiencing its ninth straight year of significant enrollment growth. There are 159,022 students attending MCPS this year, an increase of 21,277 students since 2007. By 2022, enrollment is expected to reach 168,480 students.
The Board’s request will now be submitted to the County Executive and the County Council for consideration.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2 and Westland Middle School Boundaries
A new middle school—currently known as Bethesda-Chevy Chase (B-CC) Middle School #2—will open in August 2017 and is primarily needed to address enrollment growth in the cluster. On November 16, 2015, the Board of Education authorized a boundary study to establish the service area for the new B-CC Middle School #2 and associated changes to the service area of Westland Middle School. The scope of the boundary study included the elementary schools in the B-CC cluster that now articulate to Westland Middle School. In accordance with Board of Education policy, a Boundary Advisory Committee was created to review options for the new school’s attendance zone and Westland Middle School. The committee reviewed 10 possible options for the service area. The Board selected Option 7 and set the following as the boundaries for the two schools:
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2:
Westland Middle School:
Students who attend Rock Creek Forest Elementary School for the Spanish Immersion Program and articulate to Westland Middle School for the Spanish Immersion Program will continue in this pattern.
The reassignments would begin with Grades 6 and 7 in August 2017, followed by Grades 6–8 from August 2018.
Walter Johnson Cluster Schools
On November 16, 2015, the Board of Education approved the Walter Johnson Cluster Roundtable Discussion Group to develop and explore general approaches to address the current, short- and long-term projected space deficits in the elementary, middle, and high schools in the Walter Johnson Cluster.
Since 2007, enrollment in the Walter Johnson cluster has increased by 1,316 students in elementary schools, 523 students in middle schools, and 389 student in high school. With new developments planned for the area—including White Flint 1 and 2 and Rock Spring—this growth is expected to continue in the years to come.
After consideration of the work and input from the roundtable discussion group and feedback received from the community, The Board of Education has adopted the following course of action for the schools in the Walter Johnson Cluster:
o How the reopening of the former Woodward High School can address the space deficits at Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, Walter Johnson, Walt Whitman, John F. Kennedy, and Northwood high schools; and
o The possibility of using commercial properties to address space deficits at these high schools, as well as countywide, by offering alternative programmatic and career technology education options to high school students.
Planning and construction funds will be considered for the high school solution as part of the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2019–2024 Capital Improvements Program in October 2017.
The Board approved the following boundary studies:
In addition, the Board approved the superintendent’s recommendation:
Relocation of Alternative Education Programs at the Blair G. Ewing Center
The Board approved Superintendent Smith’s recommendation that the Alternative Education Programs be relocated to the Rock Terrace School site in January 2022. In order for this project to be completed on schedule, a feasibility study will be conducted during the 2017–2018 school year to determine the scope of the project, and planning and design funds will be requested in Fiscal Year 2019 as part of the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2019–2024 Capital Improvements Program.
Site Selection Study
The Board approved a site selection study in the Clarksburg Cluster to identify the location for a new elementary school to address the continued enrollment growth in the cluster. The site selection study will occur in spring 2017 with Board of Education action in November 2017.
The Board approved expenditure shifts for the following projects: the Tilden Middle School/Rock Terrace School revitalization/expansion project; the Blair G. Ewing Center Relocation project; and three “placeholder” projects—Albert Einstein Cluster High School Solution, Northwood Cluster High School Solution, and Walter Johnson Cluster High School Solution.
Capital Improvements Program
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