Monday, November 12, 2012

Instant Equity - and Dr. Doran's Wallet

That was fast.

Within hours of Dr. Starr's State of the Schools presentation here in Montgomery County, accompanied by his call for equity in the school system, we have a prime example of equity in action.

Wootton High School is getting an artificial turf field.

No ongoing construction at the school to bundle the new field.  

According to the memo from the school system,  as a result of a competitive award, a private company agreed to pay $900,000 for the field in return for guaranteed use of the field. 

The Wootton Booster Club agreed to fundraise to the tune of $200,000.  Just for artificial turf.  Even though the field isn't used by all the sports teams, such as swimming, tennis, basketball, etc. 

Wootton parents must be fairly wealthy.  Do they know they committed to this amount?

According to MCPS, but of course. 

At a meeting held last month at the school, attended by 40 parents, almost all favored the field.

Wootton is such a great school.  Imagine 40 parents at your school committing your high school's booster club to raise that amount of money.

I am amazed that the Wootton Booster Club can raise this amount of money.  At my kids schools, our PTSA and booster club budgets were much more modest.

What's in your wallet?  Dr. Doran wants to know.

Here is the memo:

5.2.12 Thomas S Wootton HS Rqst Fund Turf


  1. Oh. Goodness. WHO do you think will get the procurement to install the plastic grass at Wootton?

    OK, kids will it be a) Field Turf or b) Field Turf or c) Field Turf?

    We don't get bids we just spend! We are filthy rich.

  2. Note the use of the passive voice in this memo: "the Department of Facilities Management was contacted."
    WHO contacted them? WHOSE idea was this? Who is pushing it?

    1. Don't miss this hysterical sentence. Looks like someone was cutting and pasting from a Wootton memo. Superintendent Joshua Starr wouldn't be calling the Wootton field "our" field.

      "Given the shortage of playing fields available in this county and theconstant demand for use of our school fields, the artificial turf on our stadium field is a greatsolution which will provide safer playing conditions for MCPS students while allowing manyhours for the community to use our stadium fields."

  3. This all seems like something that would occur when my kids were in elementary school. If the Booster Club wants to raise the money for a field, then it's fully within their rights to do so. It seems to me that you wish to tell these parents, who have worked hard to earn their money, how to spend their paychecks. It's simply none of your places.

    My child would get mad when she saw her friends with a newer expensive toy that she didn't have. For some odd reason, the thought process behind everyone's remarks seems to be the same to me. Please correct my if I'm wrong but we all know that, like I told my crying daughter, we cannot all have the same things at the same times.

    1. You are wrong. Very wrong and confused. Booster Clubs do not have the RIGHT to change the physical structure of public school land or public school buildings. These are public fields and public schools that belong to the public. Public Schools do not belong to the Booster Club.

      Your thinking is that money can just buy whatever, where ever in public accommodations. The end result of that would be that our public schools would be very different places. The rich neighborhoods would have palaces for public schools, and the poor neighborhoods would have run down dumps. What a terrible lesson to teach your children.

      This is a great example of where our public school system has failed to teach the definition of EQUITY. Equity is not "I get what I want because I have more money."

  4. The Booster club is not changing the field unilaterally, the school and school system have decided to do so. I believe that is within their discretion to do so.

    The Booster Club has agreed to raise money to help pay for the change to turf. Since they raise the money, it certainly should be their choice to spend it as they wish.

    How do you think some places have lights for softball and baseball fields? Or scoreboards?

    All of these change the physical structure of a campus, but must be approved by the school/MCPS.

    1. Wrong again. It was made clear at the Board of Education meeting today that the Bethesda Soccer Club wants the Wootton field. This was NOT a decision of the school system or the BOE. That point was made loud and clear.

      Bethesda Soccer met with James Song and said they wanted the field. James Song claims that MCPS put out a RFP for the field. Imagine, Bethesda Soccer was the only group that responded. What a coincidence.

      And, no - once again it is not the Booster Clubs decision how to spend money on a public school property. Yes, you would love to have a palace for your children to go to school in. But, this is a public school system. It is one system. It is not a private school that can do what it wants.

      Your lights example is lame. Guess that was all you could come up with? The discussion at the BOE made clear that the placement of artificial turf on the Wootton High School field will permanently change the physical plant of the entire building forever. The field will be protected if and when Wootton is modernized or renovated or expanded. That will change the way the construction proceeds. The football field will not be able to be used as a staging area as at other high schools.

  5. I can't wait for the incoming freshman to get a bill for the field.

    Want your kid to play sports? Pay $2000 and your child too can get a letter for the Wootton football team. Too bad its a really lousy team.

    Maybe they should charge the girls tennis or soccer teams. Those are great teams, and the kids get scholarships.

    What a bargain compared to Bullis.

  6. Janis, first you argued it was the Booster Club that wanted it, now it's a soccer club? Which is it?

    Whichever it really is, neither group gets to change the field without agreement from MCPS/Wootton. It's just that simple.

    You may not like the way in which they've done this and I certainly agree everyone could have been more transparent, but I've seen nothing here that suggests MCPS or Wootton is opposed to this change. The document above seems to indicate the Superintendent and BOE approve of the change.

    And you can call the lights as lame as you want, but some schools have spent tens of thousands of dollars on lights for their fields where much of that money came from the Booster Club. So Booster clubs apparently can spend their money as they wish, which was my main point.

    1. Didn't argue anything. I was posting the MCPS story. As always, it changes. The BOE meeting was this afternoon.

      You've seen nothing that anyone is opposed to change? Of course not. The "community meeting" held by MCPS only invited 40 people. The neighbors weren't told about the meeting, nor was the general public that might have an opinion.

      MCPS specifically held a quick, quiet meeting to fake community input. As usual, MCPS did everything behind closed doors and without public notification. The backlash will come now. If there is a big backlash, the litigation will come next. And then the taxpayers will pay the lawyers to defend another one day notice vote by the BOE.

      This project isn't about Booster Clubs at all. This is about a private organization taking over a public field. That was made very clear today. James Song met with the Bethesda Soccer Club at their request, and THEN put out a Request for Proposal that only Bethesda Soccer Club answered.


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