Wednesday, August 31, 2016

MD Education Code: Required School Days and Holidays as of 8/31/2016

Md. EDUCATION Code Ann. § 7-103

Annotated Code of Maryland
Copyright 2016 by Matthew Bender and Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group
All rights reserved.

*** Statutes current through July 1, 2016 ***

EDUCATION  
DIVISION II.  ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION  
TITLE 7.  PUBLIC SCHOOLS  
SUBTITLE 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS

Md. EDUCATION Code Ann. § 7-103  (2016)

§ 7-103. Required school days and holidays


   (a) Schools to be open for 180 days or 1,080 hours. -- Except as provided in subsections (b), (e), and (f) of this section, each public school under the jurisdiction of a county board:

   (1) (i) Shall be open for pupil attendance for at least 180 actual school days and a minimum of 1,080 school hours during a 10-month period in each school year; or

      (ii) If normal school attendance is prevented because of conditions described in subsection (b) of this section, shall be open for at least 1,080 hours during a 10-month period;

   (2) Shall be open for pupil attendance a minimum of 3 hours during each school day; and

   (3) May not be open on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays in order to meet the 180-day or 1,080-hour requirement of this subsection.

(b) Adjustments in school year. --

   (1) If a county board submits a written application to the State Board that describes a demonstrated effort by the county board to comply with subsection (a) of this section, the State Board may permit:

      (i) Adjustments in the length of the school year;

      (ii) Exceptions from the requirement that the school year be completed within a 10-month period;

      (iii) Adjustments in the length of the school day; and

      (iv) Schools to be open on holidays.

   (2) These adjustments may be granted only if normal school attendance is prevented because of:

      (i) Natural disaster;

      (ii) Civil disaster; or

      (iii) Severe weather conditions.

   (3) Education funding from State or local sources may not be reduced if there are less than 180 school days in any year because of an approved application under this subsection.

   (4) In case of emergency, the State Board may open schools on holidays.

(c) Holidays. --

   (1) The following days are public school holidays:

      (i) Thanksgiving Day and the day after;

      (ii) Christmas Eve and from then through January 1;

      (iii) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day;

      (iv) Presidents' Day;

      (v) The Friday before Easter and from then through the Monday after Easter;

      (vi) Memorial Day; and

      (vii) Primary and general election days.


   (2) If the federal and State observances of a holiday are on different days, the board of education of each county shall determine which date shall be the date of observance for the public schools within the county.

   (3) The public schools shall devote a part of the day to appropriate exercises for the following days:

      (i) Washington's Birthday;

      (ii) Lincoln's Birthday;

      (iii) Veterans' Day;

      (iv) Columbus Day;

      (v) Arbor Day; and

      (vi) Any other day of national significance.

   (4) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, the public schools, in the following counties, may remain open and in session on primary and general election days:

      (i) Calvert;

      (ii) Caroline;

      (iii) Dorchester;

      (iv) Kent;

      (v) Talbot; and

      (vi) Worcester.

(d) School terms. -- Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, the State Board shall divide the school year into the terms it considers appropriate.

(e) Year-round schools; pilot programs. --

   (1) The county boards of Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties, and the Board of School Commissioners of Baltimore City, may elect to operate one or more schools within the county or Baltimore City on a year-round basis, provided that the 180-day and the minimum hour requirements under this section are met.

   (2) Nothing in this section precludes a county board from conducting a year-round pilot study or program that is funded by the county board.

(f) Exclusions. -- Publicly funded prekindergarten programs are not subject to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

HISTORY: An. Code 1957, art. 77, §§ 73-76; 1978, ch. 22, § 2; ch. 925; 1979, chs. 481, 517; 1980, ch. 147, § 2; ch. 220; 1982, ch. 120; 1990, ch. 202; 1994, chs. 108, 249; 1995, ch. 383; 1996, ch. 10, § 1; 1999, chs. 596, 597; 2000, ch. 293; 2002, ch. 288, § 2; 2005, ch. 25, § 1; 2010, chs. 298, 299; 2011, ch. 65; 2012, ch. 395.

Governor Larry Hogan Signs Executive Order to Start School after Labor Day

August 31, 2016

Joins with Comptroller Peter Franchot Supporting Post-Labor Day Start Date to Benefit Families, Students, Teachers, and the Economy 


ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today signed an Executive Order that will require Maryland’s public schools to start classes after Labor Day, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Citing the benefits of a post-Labor Day school start for families, students, teachers, and the economy, the governor made the announcement on the Ocean City Boardwalk, where he was joined by Comptroller Peter Franchot, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, Senator James Mathias, Delegate Mary Beth Carozza, education advocates, and other longtime supporters of a post-Labor Day school start.

“Starting Maryland public schools after Labor Day is not just a family issue – it’s an economic and public safety issue that draws clear, strong, bipartisan support among an overwhelming majority of Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “Comptroller Franchot and I believe, and the people of Maryland strongly agree, that this Executive Order puts the best interests of Marylanders first, especially the well-being of our students. This action is long overdue, and it is simply the right thing to do.”

The Executive Order signed today will require that Maryland’s public schools begin after Labor Day, complete the 180 days that are required under state law, and adjourn by June 15, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. The executive order does permit for a waiver to be applied for with the Maryland State Department of Education to be exempt from the post-Labor Day start date. For the 2017-2018 school year and beyond, local school systems will have to apply annually for a waiver based on compelling justification. Furthermore, the State Department of Education will establish procedures and standards for school districts and individual schools seeking special waivers to accommodate non-traditional schedules...

http://governor.maryland.gov/2016/08/31/governor-larry-hogan-signs-executive-order-to-start-school-after-labor-day/

Prince George’s Schools Team up with the Clean Water Partnership on Green Stormwater Retrofit Projects

Eighteen schools in Prince George’s County were evaluated this year to receive green stormwater retrofits as part of the county’s Clean Water Partnership (CWP), a $100M public-private partnership with private company Corvias Solutions, to retrofit 2,000 impervious acres with green infrastructure in order to achieve regulatory compliance.
The CWP Schools program, designed to assist Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) with treating and managing stormwater runoff through the application of Best Management Practices (BMPs), will guarantee that PGC’s federal stormwater standards are met, while also providing an educational legacy for future generations committed to improving the water quality in our communities...

https://pgcabs.org/2016/08/23/prince-georges-schools-team-up-with-the-clean-water-partnership-on-green-stormwater-retrofit-projects/

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

NBC4: Hundreds of Computers Stolen From DC Public Schools Over Three Years


At least 300 computers or tablets have been stolen from D.C. Public Schools in the past three years, far more than in larger, neighboring districts, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.
The thefts include computers reported stolen during school hours, nights and weekends. They listed in a set of D.C. records obtained by the I-Team under the Freedom of Information Act.

CEO Kevin Maxwell’s public responses to the loss of federal Head Start funds, as well as to the recent situation at Dora Kennedy and the instances of sexual abuse, are wholly inadequate.

Dear Executive Baker:
I am writing as a parent of a young child who should be starting in Prince George’s County Public Schools next year. I am considering moving out of this County because of the situation with school leadership that I have witnessed over the last year, particularly but not exclusively with regards to the current Head Start situation. I love Prince George’s County, so I am hoping that there will be a change in the way leadership is responding to these recurring situations, so that my confidence can be restored.
CEO Kevin Maxwell’s public responses to the loss of federal Head Start funds, as well as to the recent situation at Dora Kennedy and the instances of sexual abuse, are wholly inadequate. Once a problem is reported, it is not “poor judgment” on the part of “a few people.” It is a problem with the administration. Likewise the school board’s failure to be aware and monitoring is a failure of leadership. The emphasis from the County has been on “ensuring the program continues” — showing much less concern about understanding and correcting root causes of the failure. That, combined with the fact that the problems were not corrected initially, makes it appear that the County does not recognize the severity of this problem.
Even more importantly, though, the response suggests that none of our leaders are willing to step up and take responsibility for the shoddiness of the leadership that has been demonstrated up to this point. You have stated that nobody will be asked to resign or held publicly accountable for this failure. As far as I can tell as a parent, there is no accountability at any level, and therefore I believe the commitment to reform is insincere...

https://pgcabs.org/2016/08/24/a-parents-letter-to-county-executive-baker/

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hogan, Franchot expected to make school-start announcement

Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot will hold a news conference Wednesday in Ocean City where the governor is expected to announce an executive order pushing back the start of Maryland schools until after Labor Day, possibly as soon as next year.
Sen. James Mathias, D-Eastern Shore, said he and Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan were invited to attend the event scheduled for 1 p.m. in front of the Lifesaving Museum on the Boardwalk.
“I know the subject of the event I just don’t know the substance,” said Mathias, who has sponsored bills pushing for a post-Labor Day start to the school year.
When asked if he expected the governor to announce an order to delay school starts in Maryland, Mathias said he did...

 http://thedailyrecord.com/2016/08/29/hogan-franchot-school-start-labor-day/

Stadium closed indefinitely; artificial turf deemed unplayable


Hut, hut … yikes!
Just three days away from the start of the high school football season, Turlock Unified School District has closed Joe Debely Stadium indefinitely because of an unplayable surface.

In separate compaction tests conducted by MondoTurf and district officials, the once cutting-edge artificial turf — part of a $3.6 million renovation of the community facility — was found to be too hard for activity and sport.

Turlock High athletic director Mike Brown said the issue is the rapid disintegration of the eco-friendly infill — the pellets that help soften impact. As the infill has broken down, the field has hardened to the point of Tuesday’s startling announcement...

...Brown said the issue came to light in April following a test by district officials, who placed a call for help to the global turf giant. Brown said it took nearly three months for MondoTurf to conduct its own test. Representatives returned Saturday with “the miracle worker,” Brown said, a machine that resembled a riding lawn mower. The machine “fluffed” the turf with a fork.
No miracle was performed.

Brown said the district is handcuffed by the warranty agreement, and the first-year athletic director fears this battle may play out in court. The turf is under warranty through 2018.
Brown said the infill was supposed to last “10 to 15 years before it would do anything. It didn’t even last six years.”
“Right now, we’re fighting with them,” he added. “We’re at their mercy. We can’t do anything because it would void the warranty. It’s frustrating.”...

 http://www.modbee.com/sports/high-school/prep-football/article97508707.html

And another artificial turf football field shut down for being too hard.

http://www.modbee.com/sports/high-school/prep-football/article97599877.html

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/sports/high-school/prep-football/article97508707.html#storylink=cpy

CAPA-MC: Board of Education Candidates Forum







Time: Oct. 7, 2016,Friday,7:00pm-9:30pm
Address: Herbert Hoover Middle School 

8810 Post Oak Rd, Potomac, MD 20854

http://www.capa-mc.org/

Friday, August 26, 2016

Construction Crews Scrambling to Finish Julius West MS Renovations

The first day of school is Monday, August 29, 2016 and many are wondering if Julius West Middle School will really be ready.
On Wednesday morning, a Rose Hill resident, out for her morning walk, commented about the sudden last-minute construction on the driveways which she said, “Didn’t start in earnest until three weeks ago. They were even out on Sunday working.”

During this week of preparation she noticed teachers parking in her neighborhood. “I don’t blame them.” she said...

http://www.rockvilleview.com/construction-crews-scrambling-to-finish-jwms-renovations/

Md. county school board members call for leaders’ ouster after Head Start debacle

Five members of the Prince George’s County school board called for the resignation of the board’s top leaders this week after the county lost $6.4 million in federal funding for early childhood education because of allegations of child abuse in the local Head Start program.

The board members asked County Executive Rushern L. Baker III to seek the removal of board chair Segun C. Eubanks and vice chair Carolyn A. Boston, citing a lack of confidence in their leadership and failures in accountability, transparency and collaboration...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/school-board-members-call-for-leaders-ouster-after-head-start-debacle/2016/08/23/a52c9536-68e4-11e6-8225-fbb8a6fc65bc_story.html?postshare=2581471982585568&tid=ss_fb

In nearby Montgomery County, parents who let their 6-year-old and 10-year-old children walk a mile home alone from local parks was investigated by Child Protective Services for neglect.





5-Year-Old Shouldn't Be Expected to Walk Mile to School, Maryland Father Says






http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/5-Year-Old-Shouldnt-Be-Expected-to-Walk-Mile-to-School-Maryland-Father-Says-391091281.html?_osource=SocialFlowFB_DCBrand

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Breaking: Paint Branch HS Plastic Grass has G-Max Ratings in Acceptable Range #gmax #artificialturf

3/30/2016 Paint Branch HS artificial turf inspection report

The Parents' Coalition has obtained a copy of this year's G-Max (shock absorption) test results for Paint Branch High School's plastic grass football field.  Here's what the report says:
Observations/Recommendations: Continue established maintenance schedule, field appears to be very well maintained.  Regularly monitor infill depths of high wear areas (goals, creases, penalty kicks, center of field) and add rubber infill as needed.  Continue annual GMAX testing to ensure proper performance of field. 
The G-Max readings for the Paint Branch High School field put the field in the acceptable range for shock absorption according to most industry standards.  The chart below shows where the Paint Branch field falls with regard to most standards.

Contrast the Paint Branch G-Max readings with the Walter Johnson High School readings that put the WJ field off this chart in to the caution/danger zones.

PB = Paint Branch G-Max results    WJ = Walter Johnson G-Max results



Here is what the Walter Johnson High School artificial turf inspection report said about the condition of the WJ field.  Contrast these observations and recommendations with the Paint Branch report above.

7/11/2016 Walter Johnson HS artificial turf inspection report

Public Invited: MD State BOE and Gaithersburg to Tour PG School that Cost 1/3 of what MCPS Spends

Notice to the general public is hereby given that members of the Gaithersburg City Council and City staff plan to meet with members of the Maryland Board of Education on Monday, August 29, 2016 at 10 a.m., to tour the Monarch Global Academy, 430 Brock Bridge Road, Laurel, Maryland 20724.

The tour will show an example of school construction whose costs were roughly 1/3 of what Montgomery County Public Schools are currently paying to construct similar sized schools.

The public is invited to attend, but we ask that attendees notify staff in advance as space is limited and transportation will not be provided. Please contact the Staff Liaison, if you have questions.

http://www.gaithersburgmd.gov/news/legal-notices/2016/08/20160829-monarch-global-academy-tour

WJLA: Question: Should middle-schoolers be forced to walk up to 1.5 miles to school?



http://wjla.com/news/local/parents-calling-for-changes-in-their-childrens-walk-to-school-in-montgomery-county

Officials say Field turf needs replacing earlier than expected

Meriden, CT

...When the turf was installed in mid-2008, it came with an 8-10 year warranty, though it started showing wear much sooner than that.
Nelson said within the first year the artificial grass blades started being pulled out in a higher volume than anticipated, and within 3-4 years, 25 tons of rubber pellets needed to be added in order to maintain the field’s shock-absorbency. In the ensuing years, large swaths of the turf were replaced where it was balding or getting otherwise damaged.
Additionally, each year the Friends of Falcon paid the Pennsylvania-based installer ProGrass for maintenance of the field, which included grooming and screening for foreign objects that could damage the field, such as metal hair pins. That yearly maintenance extended the warranty out an additional year each time. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

BCC Football to use Dangerous WJ Field. #gmax #concussions #WhoCares?

...The construction work means the B-CC Barons will lose their football field temporarily. This fall, home games will be played at Walter Johnson High School, about 5 miles away in Bethesda...

Construction at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Relocates Portables: Football team to play home games at Walter Johnson

Monday, August 22, 2016

Term Limits in Montgomery County

Dear Concerned Voter:
Thank you for signing the non-partisan term limits petition for Montgomery County.   
We did it!  You and nearly 18,000 registered voters in Montgomery County signed the term limits petition (only 10,000 signatures were required).  The signatures were submitted on August 8, which means you’ll be able to vote on the term limits question on the November 2016 general election ballot.   When passed -- and we need your vote to pass the measure -- it will limit County Council members and the County Executive to serving no more than three consecutive terms, or 12 years.
This Wednesday, August 24, you will have an opportunity to support term limits at a Montgomery County Charter Commission hearing.  Here is information about the hearing: http://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/Press_Detail.aspx?Item_ID=16281.  In order to testify, you must notify the commission in advance by e-mailing them at: charterreview.commission@montgomerycountymd.gov.  If you can't attend, but still want to convey your support for the term limits petition; email the commission at the same e-mail address in the previous sentence.   If you don’t want to speak out publicly on the 24th, please come to the hearing and stand with your neighbors in support of term limits for the County Council and County Executive
If you want to know how you can help or need more information, let us know. 
Thank you,
Montgomery County Citizens Group in support of Term Limits 

Montgomery Co Board of Ed Pays $71,846 in May to Outside Lawyer to Fight Families of Special Needs Children

Special Education Legal Expenses

Memo from Jack R Smith, Superintendent of Schools, August 25, 2016


Special education legal fees for outside counsel for May 2016 totaled $71,846. The year-to-date
total of $370,078 is $125,454 (51.3 percent) more than the same period in the previous year.
In addition, total year-to-date special education legal costs of $370,078 are $70,974 (16.1 percent)
less than the budgeted amount of $441,052 through this time period.
The Jeffrey A. Krew bill for May 2016 totaled $71,846.
******************

Obviously the "new procedures" to review special education legal expenses that were touted by Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse either (1) don't exist or (2) don't work. This amount of money, $71,846, does not even include the cost of maintaining the so-called "Resolution and Compliance" unit. Nor does it include the cost of the fleet of in-house lawyers to whom MCPS already pays salaries and benefits.

The Month of May 2016 represents the highest monthly total for outside special education attorney fees in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Can't blame new Superintendent Smith for this one, as it occurred before he was employed by MCPS. The special education community will be watching this and future Board meetings to see if Mr. Smith expresses any concern about what these payments represent. Let's hope he does.

Survey on MD Public Information Act. Our Say: You can help protect the public's right to know

If you've ever used the Maryland Public Information Act, there's [a] survey you should consider taking.
Journalists use this law as an important reporting tool, giving us access to important public records we feel our readers have a right to know.
The law was changed last year, creating an ombudsman to mediate disputes and a compliance board to review fees requested by the "custodians" of public records that total more than $350. The law also changed the rules for waiving fees and how reasons for denying a request under they law must be cited.
But also within the legislation was a requirement that Attorney General Brian Frosh prepare a report on the administration of law and the changes. A report being prepared by Assistant Attorney Adam Snyder will examine issues that include giving the board power to award damages in a dispute, whether fee waivers are appropriate, an analysis of denials and a look at requests for agencies considered outside government.
To do this, Snyder, with help from the Maryland, Delaware, DC Press Association, the Maryland Association of Counties, the Maryland Municipal League, Common Cause and others created a survey for people who both control the information and those who submit requests under the law. Here's a look at some examples for people who provided by the Snyder's office: ...

http://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/our_say/ph-ac-ce-our-say-0812-20160812-story.html

Saturday, August 20, 2016

.@mocoboe Discusses Choice Study in Closed Session: Who Knows What They Are Planning?

Report of Closed Session:

July 14, 2016, Closed Session Meeting

On July 14, 2016, the Board of Education voted unanimously, among those present,
to conduct a closed session, as permitted under the Education Article Section 4-107(d) and General
Provisions Article Section 3-305(b) et seq., of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The Board of Education of Montgomery County met in closed session on July 14, 2016,
from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Room 127 of the Carver Educational Services Center,
850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland, and:

Board of Education members received legal advice regarding the Study of Choice and Special
Academic Programs
, as permitted under Section 3-305(b)(7) of the General Provisions Article;
and received information from the superintendent of schools related to the choice study,
which is an administrative function outside the purview of the Open Meetings Act.
In attendance at the closed session were Michael Durso, Judith Docca, Christopher Barclay,
Eric Guerci, Philip Kauffman, Patricia O’Neill, Jill Ortman-Fouse, Rebecca Smondroski
(via teleconference), Ikhide Roland Ikheloa, Joanne Causey, Suzann King, Patricia Swanson,
Jack R. Smith, Maria V. Navarro, Kimberly A. Statham, Andrew M. Zuckerman,
Henry R. Johnson, Joshua I. Civin, Meredith A. Casper, Jeannie H. Franklin, Erick J. Lang,
Lori-Christina Webb, and Stephanie P. Williams.

Board of Education Candidates Forum Sept 28, Kennedy High School

BOARD OF EDUCATION CANDIDATE FORUM
Sponsored by the Montgomery County League of Women Voters, MCCPTA, and the NAACP Parents' Council

WHEN:       Wednesday, September 28 - 6:30 - informal reception and candidate meet and greet, 7pm - 9pm candidate forum
WHERE:     Kennedy High School Auditorium -  1901 Randolph Road, Silver Spring
WHO:          All Board of Education candidates will attend:
        
At-Large:   Jeanette Dixon, Phil Kauffman
District 2: Brandon Rippeon, Rebecca Smondrowski
District 4: Shebra Evans, Anjali Reed Phukan
 
To find out which District you live in, go here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

AC fight heats up as students head back to class

...The topic is the still-sweltering summer temperatures and a newly-adopted heat closing policy that seeks to offer relief to students and staff in schools awaiting their turn to receive air conditioning.
Currently, at least 35 of 173 county public schools are without air conditioning, including eight in Dundalk (Battle Grove, Bear Creek, Berkshire, Charlesmont, Colgate, Dundalk and Grange elementary schools and Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts.)...

 http://www.dundalkeagle.com/spotlight/ac-fight-heats-up-as-students-head-back-to-class/article_a346f7f2-92e8-5804-bf08-2e1d5fc7d33c.html#utm_source=dundalkeagle.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fall%2Fheadlines%2F&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline

Artificial turf problems prompt lawsuits and early replacements

Schools and universities around the country are now taking a closer look at their artificial turf fields. Some of them say the fields are falling apart and not lasting as long as expected, prompting lawsuits and concerns nationwide.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - When Indiana University’s football team begins its new season, it will be playing on new turf.
IU purchased its old synthetic playing surface from FieldTurf, the nation’s largest provider of artificial turf athletic fields, in 2008.
It came with an 8-year warranty, and university officials hoped it would last a decade. But this spring, contractors ripped the artificial grass out of Memorial Stadium months before the warranty expired.
Other colleges and universities have done the same thing.
“We met with the supplier, FieldTurf, and we determined it was in the best interest of both the university and FieldTurf to replace it sooner than later,” said Mark Burk, director of stadium and event services at the University of Utah, which decided last year to replace the turf at Rice-Eccles football stadium. The turf was seven years old.
Across the country, some high schools say their artificial turf fields started to wear out even sooner than that...

http://www.wthr.com/article/artificial-turf-problems-prompt-lawsuits-and-early-replacements

Verizon won't move Cell Tower for School Construction

Remember this when the Board of Education wants to put a cell tower on your local school's playground.  

This cautionary tale comes from a Wisconsin public school:


Thursday, August 18, 2016

RMHS’s Artificial Turf Warranty Expires Today

Local school districts and municipalities have spent millions in recent years installing synthetic turf football and soccer fields. Now many of these installed by FieldTurf have been proven to be defective and are failing prematurely.
In Montgomery County, the public school system contracted with FieldTurf to install artificial fields at the Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson High Schools. The artificial turf at Blair High School was installed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
FieldTurf has been repeatedly sued for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recovery for fields installed in 2007 and 2008. In California, the Bret Harte Union High School District, Chaffey Joint Union High School District, and the Crystal Springs Uplands School have filed lawsuits. Another example is the Middleton-Cross Plains School District in Wisconsin. Basically, these complainants argue that the problem lies with the FieldTurf Duraspine monofilament fibers, which they blame for the fields decaying faster than the terms promised under the warranty.

RMHS’s Artificial Turf Warranty Expires Today

RMHS’s Artificial Turf Warranty Expires Today



Artificial turf RMHS hill
The Richard Montgomery High School artificial turf field
Local school districts and municipalities have spent millions in recent years installing synthetic turf football and soccer fields. Now many of these installed by FieldTurf have been proven to be defective and are failing prematurely.
In Montgomery County, the public school system contracted with FieldTurf to install artificial fields at the Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson High Schools. The artificial turf at Blair High School was installed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
FieldTurf has been repeatedly sued for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recovery for fields installed in 2007 and 2008. In California, the Bret Harte Union High School District, Chaffey Joint Union High School District, and the Crystal Springs Uplands School have filed lawsuits. Another example is the Middleton-Cross Plains School District in Wisconsin. Basically, these complainants argue that the problem lies with the FieldTurf Duraspine monofilament fibers, which they blame for the fields decaying faster than the terms promised under the warranty.
The eight-year warranty for the Richard Montgomery High School artificial turf field expires today. The public information office for Montgomery County Public Schools has not been able to verify if any claims have been made under the warranty.
Artificial turf RMHS yellow line
In many locations, the rubber pellets show through in large amounts.
In 2011, Field Turf sued TenCate, the maker of the fiber, claiming that after they contracted for Tencate’s monofilament artificial grass fiber, the company “changed its fiber formula and the manufacturing process that it used to create the fiber” and provided a “less durable” product. A settlement was reached during the second week of a jury trial which is believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
As a local CBS story in New York exposes, taxpayers are the last to know when a school system has received the defective product.
A few days after Richard Montgomery’s turf was installed on August 18, 2008, Destrehan High School had their field installed on August 21, 2008. Drestrehan High School had their field replaced by FieldTurf which paid for 70% of the cost under their warranty.
Upon inspection, the Richard Montgomery High School field has quite a large amount of rubber pellets showing through very thin synthetic grass fibers.
Artificial turf RMHS pellets
Towson University had the same defective Duraspine material installed in June 2007 and it was replaced after five years. During the process, the University was forced to pay Field Turf for “an upgrade”.
Should Montgomery County Public Schools file to replace the fields under their warranties?
On Tuesday, Forbes published an investigative article with evidence that the artificial turf field at Walter Johnson High School puts high school players at risk. Referencing a report by Athletic Field Consultants Inc., which revealed that the G-Max often exceeded 185 (when professional athletes play on fields at 130 or less), the article stated that the consultants made a note that this was the exact premature wear and disintegration that FieldTurf itself alleged in it’s lawsuit against Tencate.
Artificial turf RMHS field
Yesterday, USA Today wrote a piece asking if a lack of standardized shock absorption rates was putting teen athletes at risk. The turf manufacturer claims the G-Max can be as high as 200. The Parent’s Coalition of Montgomery County has published a chart from OSHA that shows a G-Max of 200 “will cause death”.
If no action has been taken by Montgomery County Public Schools under the warranty, school administrators, parents, and student athletes could be faced with an increasingly dangerous situation.
Editor’s Note: As a Richard Montgomery High School parent and Parent Teacher Student Association officer, I’ve never heard any mention of the field being defective or in need of being replaced.