Board of Education Approves Capital Improvements Program

November 19, 2009
Rockville, Maryland—The Montgomery County Board of Education approved a $1.49 billion, six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) that includes the construction of two new schools and the expansion of ten more.

The CIP will now be sent to Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett for review.

Board President Shirley Brandman said the school system’s current and future growth, combined with a favorable construction environment, make this the right time to build.

“I’m very pleased to send the county executive a CIP that will allow us to meet the needs of the students who are already enrolled in our schools and those that will be enrolled in the very near future,” Brandman said. “Construction costs are very reasonable right now and we must take maximum advantage of that market before the costs go back up.”

Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast said the CIP is extremely important, even in these difficult times.

“Education is the economic engine of Montgomery County and this CIP is an investment in our students and our future,” Weast said. “The time is right and I urge the county executive to seriously consider our CIP request.”

The Board also took action on two other items:
- The Board approved an amended redistricting plan for four downcounty elementary schools and two middle schools.
- The Board did not adopt the superintendent’s recommendation to consolidate Monocacy Elementary School at Poolesville Elementary School and directed that a group that includes representatives from neighboring clusters be empanelled to explore options to address underutilization in the Poolesville cluster.

Capital Improvements Program

The $1.49 billion Capital Improvements Program covers recommended projects for six years, FY 2011–2016. The plan includes a request for $253.2 million in expenditures for FY 2011, an increase of about 16 percent from previously approved allocations for next fiscal year.

Among the recommendations in the CIP:

• Expansion projects at Bradley Hills, Darnestown, Georgian Forest, Somerset, Viers Mill, Waters Landing, Westbrook, and Wyngate elementary schools and Clarksburg High School.
• Construction of a new elementary school and middle school in the Clarksburg Cluster.
• Infrastructure improvements at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) facilities, including roof replacements and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance efforts.
• Countywide heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacement projects at several different district schools and facilities.

The CIP recommendation also calls for several schools to be modernized, as well as boundary and capacity studies for schools in different clusters around the county.

Boundary Changes

The Board also voted on boundary changes at four elementary schools (East Silver Spring, Piney Branch, Sligo Creek, and Takoma Park) as well as Silver Spring International and Takoma Park middle schools.

The boundary changes will take effect in August 2010, when expansion projects at East Silver Spring and Takoma Park elementary schools are scheduled to open. The changes are based on the recommendations of a Boundary Advisory Committee that met for three months and feedback from parents and community members. Dr. Weast presented his boundary change recommendation in October.

The Board adopted an alternative to the superintendent’s proposal.

Monocacy Elementary School

The Board voted not to accept the superintendent’s recommendation to consolidate Monocacy Elementary School at Poolesville Elementary School, which would have saved more than $1 million a year in operating costs.

Board members asked that a discussion group be put together to investigate all available options to address the declining enrollment at Monocacy Elementary and the entire Poolesville cluster. The group will include representatives from the Clarksburg and Northwest clusters and will make recommendations to the superintendent.

Any plans to address enrollment in the Poolesville area will be made as part of CIP recommendations in 2010.

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