In 1986, the Montgomery County Board of Education enacted a comprehensive Long Range Planning Process. The Policy, listed as Policy FAA, was crafted after extensive community input over an extended period of time. The late Councilmember Marilyn Praisner was on the Board of Education when that 1986 Policy was passed.
But when Superintendent Jerry Weast rode into town, he wasn't so keen on following those 21 pages of Board Policy. And so in 2005 the Board of Education, including current President Patricia O'Neill, gutted the Policy and reduced the 21 pages to 5.
Councilmember Marilyn Praisner was not pleased and wrote a letter to the Board of Education. From the April 20, 2005 Gazette article on the Policy change:
County Councilwoman Marilyn J. Praisner (D-Dist. 4) of Calverton was a school board member when the current policy was adopted in 1986 after a series of meetings with the community and the council of PTAs. "It was a real concerted effort on the part of the board to place a great deal of clarity and transparency into the facility planning process," she said.
Praisner said the "overarching implications" of the policy -- which can affect issues from land use to budgets -- prompted her to write a letter to the board.
"I don't think the board appreciates the history of the policy," she said.
The policy was written when the county was closing schools and community input was just as important as it is now, as the county builds new schools and reopens some of the very same schools it closed in the 1970s and 1980s, Praisner said.
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