Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Potomac Almanac Letter: Is This Involvement?

Is This Involvement?
By Janis Sartucci, Cluster coordinator, Churchill Cluster PTA
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
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The following letter to The Board of Education and Superintendent Jerry Weast is shared with the Almanac

On Tuesday, July 6, 2004, I testified with regard to Agenda Item 4.2.8 that to date there has been no PTA or community input with regard to the Site Selection, Feasibility Study (including Educational Specifications) and Architect Selection with respect to the construction of an elementary school on the Kendale Elementary School site. I stand by that statement and would be willing to sign a sworn affidavit to those facts if you so desire.

It is disheartening that the statements of four PTA and community members were so easily dismissed during that meeting.

Later that same day Mr. [Joe] Lavorgna [director, MCPS Department of Planning and Capital programs] and Mr. [Dick] Hawes [director MCPS Department of Facilities Management] made the following statements:

1. I asked Mr. Lavorgna if a feasibility study would be produced for the Kendale site, similar to the one prepared for the Potomac Elementary School addition. His answer was no.

2. When told that no PTA members were contacted with regard to the selection of an architect for the Kendale Elementary School site, Mr. Hawes said that the PTA vote on that matter was of no consequence, as the PTA was just one vote on a committee of seven.

In [Superintendent Jerry] Weast's recommendation of Feb. 23, 2004, he requested a feasibility study for the Kendale Elementary School site. I am not aware of any other school construction project that has been done without a feasibility study and community and PTA input. I trust you will supply me with the names and locations of the county schools that have been constructed without feasibility studies and community and PTA input.

I renew the request made in my testimony on July 6, 2004. I would ask that the Board of Education remand this issue back to MCPS staff for the formation of a committee as described in Policy FAA to consider and present back to the Board of Education a report on site selection. If the site is approved, I would request that the process proceed according to Board of Education policy and procedures.