Board Approves CIP and Capital Budget Request

November 19, 2004
The Board of Education approved a FY 2006 Capital Budget appropriation request totaling $225.2 million and an amended FY 2005-2010 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) request totaling $923.7 million at a public meeting on November 18.

Superintendent Jerry D. Weast had submitted the recommended budget and amendments to the Board on October 27. The additional funds are needed to accommodate a growing enrollment, to relieve overcrowding, and to continue technology modernization. The adopted CIP is expected by fall 2009 to significantly reduce the number of relocatable classrooms.

The Board approved a request for an increase in spending of $10.61 million for four amendments:

· $40,000 to complete the feasibility study for a new elementary school in the Kennedy cluster to relieve overcrowding within the Downcounty Consortium.
· $2.3 million to continue the rollout plan for the technology modernization program.
· $7.5 million for the Advanced Land Acquisition Revolving Fund, to purchase land for elementary school sites in the Shady Grove sector plan and the Kennedy Cluster.
· $770,000 to provide three additional classrooms at Broad Acres Elementary School to address increased enrollment.

The Board also approved four supplements recommended by the superintendent:

· Review of student-to-classroom ratios for Grades 1-6 and for class-size reduction in schools to more closely reflect the way MCPS is using its schools.
· Opening of a second Chinese Immersion Program at College Gardens Elementary School beginning in 2005-06, with countywide admission determined by lottery. Chinese immersion slots at Potomac Elementary School will be open first to students residing in the Potomac Elementary School service area, with remaining slots available through a lottery-based transfer.
· Collocation of the Fleet Street Alternative Program with programs and offices currently located at the Mark Twain facility in June, and exploring the possibility of developing a nontraditional high school program that also could collocate in the Mark Twain building, while moving the middle school component of the Mark Twain program to two middle schools with cluster programs.
· Declaration of a 1.75-acre unimproved parcel adjacent to Tilden Middle School (Edson Lane site) as surplus and, with approval of the state superintendent, conveying it to the Montgomery County government.

Board of Education action also included approval of boundary changes for Quince Orchard Middle School #2 and Connecticut Park Elementary School. In addition, the Board action established choice areas for the Middle Schools Magnet Consortium that includes Belt, Argyle, and Parkland middle schools. The Board also adopted temporary boundaries for Grade 7 and 8 students at Belt Middle School for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.

Boundary changes for Quince Orchard Middle School #2 (Option 4) and Connecticut Park Elementary School were approved as submitted by the superintendent in October following community input.

Action on the Middle Schools Magnet Consortium approved the superintendent's recommendation as submitted, with the amendment that transportation also be provided for middle school students from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson, and Rockville clusters who enroll, and are accepted, into the consortium. A review of transportation will be conducted in three years when the federal grant expires, at which time the Board will determine whether or not to continue this transportation service.

The Board also approved a motion to rescind a resolution to implement a boundary study for Farquhar, Francis Scott Key, and White Oak middle schools. The Board requested the superintendent to monitor the use of the schools and advise the Board if any of the three schools are either below 80 percent or above 100 percent utilization, with a recommendation regarding the convening of a boundary review, if needed.

The County Council will schedule a work/action session in early December to discuss the portion of the FY 2006 Capital Budget request that relates to state funding. MCPS's state aid request is $125.5 million for FY 2006. Any changes adopted by the County Council for projects involving state funding must be submitted to the Interagency Committee for Public School Construction by December 7.

The county executive will publish recommendations on the FY 2006 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2005-2010 CIP by mid-January 2005. The County Council will hold a hearing in early February, work sessions in March and April, and adopt the Capital Budget and Amendments, along with requests from other county agencies, in late May 2005.

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