Monday, October 26, 2009

Weast missed deadline

 Are the procedures different for Takoma Park than for Dickerson & Poolesville?

The Montgomery County Board of Education Handbook (Page 27) spells out the process to be followed when the Board recommends the "closing or consolidation of a school". The Board process provides for the community to submit "proposed solutions, priorities, or concerns" to a recommendation to close a school by June 1st.

There is no "June 1st" in Superintendent Weast's timeline for the closing of Monocacy Elementary School. Superintendent Weast has the decision being made by March 2010. If the school is to be closed for the 2010-11 school year, the "June 1st" would have been 5 months ago. 
Each spring the superintendent of schools reviews all Board of Education facilities decisions and capital budget requests. The capital budget includes construction and planning funds for new facilities, modernizations and renovations; furniture and equipment associated with these projects; and countywide maintenance efforts. Facilities issues include building utilization, educational program capacity, enrollment projections, boundary changes, and school closings/consolidation. During the spring, cluster, school, and community representatives meet to discuss feasible school program and facility alternatives and, by June 1, cluster representatives send the superintendent of schools proposed solutions, priorities, or concerns the cluster has identified for its schools.
Here is what the timeline looked like for the Takoma Park area boundary changes that will be taking effect for the 2010-11 school year.  (The same school year when Superintendent Weast wants Monocacy Elementary closed.) Why isn't the Monocacy/Poolesville area accorded the same procedural guidelines and safeguards as the Takoma Park area?
...On November 20, 2008, the Board of Education authorized a boundary study to review the boundaries for East Silver Spring, Piney Branch, Sligo Creek, and Takoma Park elementary schools...
The boundary review process begins with a community advisory committee—that will meet from March 2009 through June 2009—followed by a superintendent recommendation in mid-October 2009, followed by Board of Education review and action in November, 2009. Any boundary changes would be implemented in August 2010...

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