Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Andrews: County Executive failed to notify school system or council

 Rockville Patch: All Signs Point to "Yes" to Peary Sale
Council committees give nod to $1.9 million purchase by Hebrew Academy; final vote expected Tuesday
..."Not at issue is that the academy has been an excellent tenant and neighbor. But that is not the issue that the council should vote on. The judgment is based on the long-term interest of the county," said Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg.
Andrews wants the county to retain the site to use as a temporary high school when other county high school sites undergo major renovations and modernizations.
He said he feels the deal was "rushed," saying he first learned of the academy's intention to buy the campus in late October. 
"The County Executive's office may have been working on this for months but it failed to notify our school system or this council," Andrews said. "This issue should not be taken up by a lame duck council that is no longer accountable to the voters."


  1. secret deals are the best

  2. Thank you Councilmember Andrews.

  3. Thank you County Executive Ike Leggett for looking out for public school children.
    Oh - wait. You didn't. In fact your attorney went to the Council yesterday and spoke ONLY on behalf of the Private School.

  4. You are forgetting that the School Board gave up its rights to the Peary High School in 1994. It is not even on the list of inventory of available schools. And most important... MCPS can reclaim it if it is needed! Which it won't, because there are over 50 other sites available in their inventory now. Seven council members understand all the facts and fairness of this sale, two do not.

  5. @DRP You are forgetting that school land is a creation of the State of Maryland. School land - belongs to the State until the State decides otherwise. The State can take the proceeds of any sale. The State's interest in school land is until it is transferred to another entity. Council "ownership" in the meantime is irrelevant.

    Lots that you don't know about the trust that has been put in to Boards of Education in Maryland when it comes to school land. It is the duty of the Board of Education to speak up about this land, even when the Council has ownership.

    Just grab and go... isn't the way school land is to be handled. Fun for private entities, but not cool with the State.

    And make that 9 Council members that don't know the facts. Haven't heard one of them talk about the State's interest in this property. And we won't. The back room deal has been cut and the property will be sold off in about two hours.
    Well, that is, until the State decides what its share of the proceeds will be. And since Montgomery County has owed the State over $3 million in back payments on sold school property it will be interesting to see what the State has to say about this sale and how much of a cut they want.

  6. I am not sure this is really clear so I will restate it again.

    The School Board is an entity of the State of Maryland. School land is given in trust to the School Board by the State.
    The State doesn't "give up" their interest in school land until they decide to do so.
    The School Board turning over the use of school land to the County does not give up the State's rights in the property.

    Public School Students come first when it comes to dedicated public school land.

  7. @DRP
    And this statement is just flat out wrong!

    "It is not even on the list of inventory of available schools."

    See Page B-2

    Where are you getting your information from?

  8. The Peary High School is listed under Montgomery County Owned, not Board of Education. And it is not listed as "Real Property Inventory for Surplus Sites" in section C. @ Janus, I admire your passion for the School Board and the children in the public school system.... Perhaps if more people like yourself had been involved back in the 80s when the school was closed, it would not have been completely abandoned and the County would not have been looking for a buyer in the 90s. This sale is simply the closing of that agreement made in in 1994 which has been delayed year after year.

  9. @drp

    Did you read the cover of this document?

    Montgomery County Public Schools

    Sorry, once again you are fluffy with the truth. The private school was given an OPTION to buy. Just like the other similar private schools that were given this unique deal. An OPTION is an OPTION not a requirement.

    Check out the rest of the leases of public school land. Do you see those sites given the same OPTION?
    No. You don't.

    No OPTION for the other private schools that have rented out public school sites for YEARS in Montgomery County and have SUBSTANTIALLY improved the properties. No difference.

    Yet, very different lease provisions in only a very few of the leases.

    Who wrote those leases that are not following the standard Montgomery County lease form?

    Why can't all of the private schools currently leasing out public school sites buy them tomorrow?

  10. This is not an 'agreement' made in the 90s. The agreement is for a lease with option to purchase -- IF it is in the best interests of the citizens and taxpayers of this county. Clearly it is NOT. Because the bullies from Berman have been secretly working on this deal for months with Trachtenberg and the County Executive, and the citizens of the county, including the Board of Education that represents the school system, and the MCCPTA, only found out about this sleazy deal two weeks ago, more voices were not public about how wrong it is to accept $1.9million for 19-1/2 acres of downcounty property.

    Berman claim they have spent $9million on repairs and upgrades. Have they? Let's see it. Let's see the audit. Let's see the receipts and invoices. Show the taxpayers. We are still waiting for the 3 audits, and the audit of what Berman REALLY spent.

    The taxpayers of Montgomery County don't 'owe' these bullies anything. The state, which will take its cut of the $1.9million, even less. The 'moral' and 'ethical' thing to do for the council members is to vote no on this sleazy deal and make it clear that this county does not tolerate this kind of crap.

    As for soon-to-be ex-Councilmember Trachtenberg, let's follow her career arc and see how she lands based on her penchant for secret sleazy deals. The voters of this County are just now finding out how lucky they are to have fired her from her job on the Council.

  11. wow... bullies and sleazies. Really? I don't think the Aspen Hill community would view Berman in that light. Nor did any of the council members today, including Andrews who all commended Berman on the efforts they have made for the community. The vote against the sale had absolutely nothing to do with Berman's actions or behavior... They have been upfront and transparent the entire time.

    As far as audits, the MJBHA is audited annually by an independent accounting firm. Both the income statement and the balance sheet where the building leasehold improvements are capitalized. The audits are available to any Berman parent or stakeholder. There is absolutely no requirement nor are they required to present them to the public in regard to the purchase. Should the County file eminent domain and take the property back, you can be assured that proper records will be presented as required.

    Again, your anger is misdirected against Berman Academy.... you should be angry with your school board and county council who served in the 1990s who let Peary HS deteriorate and be abandoned. That is where your anger should be directed.

  12. Let's see what everyone thinks tomorrow...

  13. drp, yes, bullies and sleaze. The behind-the-scenes bullying and sleazy secret deals are beginning to ooze out from under the rock where they were carefully hidden by the Berman Academy community. Stay tuned on this blog for the facts as to how this deal was made over the course of the last year, especially at the County Executive's office, with Ike Leggett and Diane Schwartz Jones handling the nastier aspects of this deal. Enforcers kept the council in line. Keep your ear to the ground and keep looking on this blog for the facts. Who knew what and when? Who caved and how fast? Keep checking...

  14. can we please now go back to our regularly scheduled pit bull attacks on retaining walls, cellphone towers and what Jerry Weast may or may not have had for lunch?

  15. Take heart, MCPS is putting in more retaining walls at another school - stay tuned - pictures are on their way! And another cell tower is coming to a school site. We will let you know which one soon!

    Take a look at today's posts on MCPS salaries to find out what the dinner gang at Carver is getting paid. You'll see why they need to have their dinners paid for by taxpayers...

    But we are sorry to let you know that the Peary High School site ain't over til it's over...


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