Tuesday, May 11, 2021

How MCPS Superintendents Fib to the Board of Education or How a New High School will Get a New Cell Tower at the Front Entrance.

 May 13, 2021 Update:  As noted in our original blog post below, the memorandum from Superintendent Jack Smith to the Montgomery County Board of Education was not factual.  The Montgomery County Transmission Facility Coordinating Group had NOT approved the placement of a new cell tower at the Woodward High School site on Old Georgetown Road.  

This agenda item was pulled from the May 11th Board of Education Agenda during the meeting because the memorandum from Superintendent Jack Smith was not correct. 

On today's Board of Education Agenda is a perfect example of how MCPS Superintendents fib to the Montgomery County Board of Education.  

The Board of Education members are well aware of these continuing fibs and approve of this method of conducting public school business.

 Board of Education members are "trained" to not question what they are told by the superintendent and by MCPS staff.  The "job" of Montgomery County Board of Education members is to be a rubber stamp for the actions of superintendents. 

Today's example:  Superintendent Jack Smith wants to build a new cell tower at the new high school site on Old Georgetown Road.  In order to do that, the superintendent has to bypass the existing Board policy and procedure that calls for the Board of Education to approve new cell towers. Superintendent Smith doesn't want to put this matter before the Board of Education because for the past 10 years all new cell tower proposals have been rejected by parents and community members in Montgomery County. 

Here are the steps involved in bypassing the existing policy and sneaking in a new cell tower:

1. Do not give the Board of Education members the actual documents they are approving!  Just write a memo (see images) that refers to documents, but gives no details.

2.  Fib about the history of the issue.  In today's Board memo, Superintendent Jack Smith says that the Board of Education previously "entered into a telecommunications lease."  That never happened. The Board of Education never entered into cell tower leases.  Cell tower leases were all executed by previous Superintendent Jerry Weast without Board votes.

3. Mention an internal approval process but give NO DETAILS.  This memo says that MCPS DFM (Department of Facilities Management) staff reviewed a plan and found it acceptable.  Where is the plan? Why can't the Board of Education see the plan? What about parents and neighbors? They haven't seen the plan. Why can't they see the plan?  By referencing some vague approval it sounds as if the plans are just fine and no one should question them.  

4. Claim the Montgomery County Transmission Facility Coordinating Group (TFCG) has approved the new cell tower when they actually haven't.   This particular cell tower is actually listed as PENDING on the TFCG website.  The proposal has not been approved. 

5. Instead of using the word "new" call the new cell tower "longer-term."  That will trick the Board of Education members into thinking they aren't really giving the Superintendent the power to erect a new cell tower.  

The May 11, 2021, memorandum shown above from Superintendent Jack Smith is an excellent example of how to get around Board of Education policies and procedures, keep Board members clueless as to what is being approved, and eliminate public notice of commercial construction projects on public school land. 

1 comment:

  1. The time has almost come
    And he will soon be gone
    Leaving lingering legacy
    On the school front lawn
    Cell towers of emergency.


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