Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leventhal will support sale despite Board of Ed & Superintendent objections

The Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, MD has learned that County Councilmember George Leventhal will support the sale of 19.5 acres of Montgomery County school land for $1.9 million. 

According to Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation records the site to be sold is currently assessed at $33,162,766. (See image at left.)

The land to be sold for $1.9 million is the site of the former Peary High School in Rockville, Maryland. 

The MCPS Board of Education has publicly stated their objection to the sale of this 19.5 acre  school site at least three times in the last five years. 

The Board of Education objected to the sale of this property on October 11, 2005, they stated their objection again on October 25, 2010, and reiterated their objection again on November 18, 2010

Superintendent Jerry Weast's objection to the sale of the Peary High Site is explained in his October 11, 2005 memorandum to the Board of Education shown below. 

Read a 2006 outside evaluator's opinion on the Peary High School deal here. 
Peary Utilization


  1. This post is incomplete and misleading. Where to begin?

    1. First, the state assessment is based on COMMERCIAL use of the property, which is not permitted under zoning restrictions or the master plan. IT also has no real-world consequence, since the County does not pay property taxes. The $1.9M price is based on three professional appraisals done of the land in 1996, adjusted by CPI since. They are the ONLY professional appraisals done of the property.

    2. The 2006 outside evaluator was evaluating a different deal. Since that time, there are two key differences (other than a higher price, as a result of the CPI): first, the school has agreed to a covenant attached to its deed that prohibits any use other than educational (eliminating the possibility that it might "flip" the property for a profit - something that was never intended in any event), and, second, the deal now has a repurchase provision allowing the County to recover the property if needed.

    3. Finally, Superintendant Weast's 2005 memo has been proven wrong in one key respect. Since his 2005 memo, enrollment in the Rockville Cluster - including its elementary schools - has DECLINED. It is true that enrollment in other parts of the County has increased but not in this cluster.

  2. @Behnam

    Then please provide the documentation that backs up your statements. Let's see the Appraisals.

    This post is documentation of known positions. If you believe you have documents that add to this discussion we would be more than happy to post them to this blog.

    Superintendent Weast's position is on record. The Board of Education has documented their position at least 3 times.

    The Board's discussion made clear that they represent a county wide school system, not just one neighborhood. Clusters do not exist in isolation in this county wide school system.

    Maybe you would like to argue for smaller school systems? That is a valid point that has been brought up before. Maybe having just one Board of Education for an entire county is too much. Maybe it is time to break up the county into smaller schools systems.

    We look forward to posting copies of the 3 Appraisals that were done on this property and any other documentation that you think is relevant to the discussion.

  3. per the ED/MFP committee memo for the November 29th work-session:

    top of page 8:
    "Given the lease terms, the proposed covenant to use the land only as a private school with outdoor fields available to the community, and the repurchase provisions, staff concludes that the proposed purchase price is appropriate."

    The issue that you keep asking about the price and the 3 appraisals has been reviewed by the Council staff and they believe the price is fair.

  4. Actually Council staff has recommended AGAINST selling the Peary High School site.

    3 Appraisals weren't reviewed as apparently one was dropped - let's see the 3 and find out what went on.


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