Links to current issues covered by all
MCCF committees appear below.
Education Committee Environment Committee Legislation/Committee for Montgomery Parks and Recreation Committee Planning and Land Use Committee Public Safety Committee Public Finance Committee Transportation Committee Utilities Committee
Current Issues: Education
REPORT ON MCPS FINANCIAL PRACTICESAn Office of Legislative Audits [Department of Legislative Services, Maryland General Assembly] report dated May 19, 2016, covers the audit of the Financial Management Practices of Montgomery County Public Schools. This report was made available to the public on May 25, 2016. View the Report.
Rock Spring Community Meeting 10/28/15 @ 7pmThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is inviting residents, business owners, and anyone with an interest in the Rock Spring area to attend a community meeting hosted by the Rock Spring Master Plan team on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. [RSVPs are encouraged, but not required. RSVP for the 11/28/15 Rock Spring Community Meeting.] The 10/28/15 community meeting follows the 9/17/15 joint meeting with the Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Master Plan teams which focused on MCPS facility concerns in the Walter Johnson High School cluster. The 9/17/15 meeting, which drew about 100 residents, was held to begin the dialogue about how to address school facility issues in this cluster. During the upcoming master plan process for Rock Spring, Planning Department staff and MCPS staff claim they will collaborate with the community to ensure that land use and zoning recommendations are coordinated with the corresponding recommendations for educational facilities.
Interim Superintendent Releases Recommendations to Address School Capacity IssuesMCPS Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers has released the supplement to the Capital Improvement Program and will release the full CIP on 10/28/15. These reports are the Superintendent’s recommendation for school construction and maintenance projects around the county. Read more details on the MCPS website: Interim Superintendent Recommendations (dated 10/15/15).
MCPS Proposed FY15 Operating BudgetView it online at the Montgomery County Public Schools website.
Public School Student Achievement GapOn 3/12/13 the Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) released its Report 2013-4, “The Achievement Gap in Montgomery County: An FY13 Update,” to the County Council and public. (See OLO Reports Available On-Line
■ The County Council Education Committee held a worksession on the report on 3/18/13.
FY14 MCPS Capital and Operating BudgetsOn 10/30/12, Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr released his Recommended FY2014 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY2012-18 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The Board of Education took action on the recommendations in November 2012. If you have any questions, contact the Division of Long-Range Planning, Montgomery County Public Schools, at 240-314-4700. [View the CIP document.]
■ In mid-December 2012, the proposed MCPS Operating Budget for FY2014 was released (click to view Operating Budget document [Note: Large, 60MB file.]
Nick Maravell Farm on Brickyard RoadOn 3/8/11, the Board of Education agreed to a change in the lease for the 20-acre, MCPS-owned site on Brickyard Road, Potomac, cancelling the lease with Nick Maravell’s organic farm and preparing the way for the county Department of General Services (DGS) to sign a new lease allowing Montgomery Soccer, Inc., to develop soccer fields on the site.
■ On 3/20/12, Planning Department staff sent a letter to David Dise, DGS Director, asserting his 3/8/11 testimony to the BoE, in which he stated, at a March 2010 meeting with DGS, the “MNCPPC staff did not raise any concerns at that time giving pause to this project,” was a bit of a stretch. In their letter, Planning staff detail several requirements in law which must be met in order for the county government to proceed with the lease agreement for the re-use of the Brickyard Road site as private soccer fields [View 3/20/12 Planning Dept. letter to Dise.]
FY2013-2018 Capital Improvements Program BudgetOn 10/28/11 the Superintendent’s Recommended MCPS FY2013-2018 CIP (Capital Improvements Program) Budget was released. [View at MCPS webpage with link to budget.]
■ On 11/2/11 the Board of Education held a worksession;
■ Public hearings before the Board were held 11/10/11 and 11/14/11 on Superintendent’s Recommended FY13 Capital Budget and FY13-18 CIP
■ Board took final action in November 2011
■ County Council held worksession in late November 2011 to discuss portion of MCPS FY13 Capital Budget that relates to state funding
■ County Executive published his CIP recommendations for all county agencies in mid-January 2012
■ Council will hold public hearings in early February, then worksessions in March and April, and adopt in late May 2012.
Proposed FY2013 MCPS Operating BudgetOn 12/7/11, Superintendent Joshua Starr released his proposed MCPS Operating Budget for FY13. The Superintendent is recommending a $2.128 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, a 2 percent increase ($41.4 million) over the current budget. MCPS held public hearings on January 11 and 18, 2012. [View proposed FY13 MCPS Operating Budget.]
Transition Team Report for MCPS SuperintendentNew MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr’s Transition Team has filed its report [View the report.]
Food in County Public SchoolsOn 7/19/11, the Office of Legislative Oversight released a report entitled Food in Montgomery County Public Schools. [View report.]
county’s first public charter schoolIn June 2011, Superintendent of Schools Jerry Weast sent a memo to the Board of Education to recommend their approval of the county’s first public charter school. [View memo.]
Project North StarOn 6/8/10, an Agreement was signed between Montgomery County Public Schools and Pearson Education, Inc., for MCPS to develop a curriculum project named “Project North Star.” The draft Program Development Plan (PDP) was to have been released by MCPS within 10 days of signing the Agreement.
■ On 2/23/11, MCPS finally released the North Star Project draft Program Development Plan, which was due for release in June 2010. [View draft PDP.]
Retain School Resource OfficersOn 5/2/11, the Civic Federation transmitted a letter to Council seeking retention of existing School Resource Officers (police officers assigned to certain public schools) in the FY2012 Operating Budget. [See Current Issues: Public Finance webpage for link to letter.]
■ On 5/26/11, County Council approved FY2012 Operating Budget, retaining six SROs (see Current Issues: Public Finance webpage for link to Council press release on approved budget.]
Rectangular Stadium FieldsOn 4/13/11, the draft “Review of Benefits and Issues Associated with Natural and Artificial Turf Rectangular Stadium Fields” was released by Staff Work Group from MCPS, Department of Parks, and county Departments of Environmental Protection and Health & Human Services. The deadline for public comments was extended from the original 5/13/11 date to 6/3/11.
■ On 5/13/11, MCCF submitted detailed comments on draft report. [View MCCF comments.]
■ Final Report of the Artificial Turf Playing Fields Working Group released. [View Final Report.]
■ On 9/26/11, Council Education Committee and Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee discussed Final Report of the Working Group.
BOARD OF EDUCATION COULD IMPOSE PROPERTY TAXOn 3/18/11, Maryland House of Delegates suspended rules to allow late introduction of Bill 1352, “authorizing county boards of education to impose, by resolution, a property tax to provide funding for public school operation and expenses,” in addition to county property tax. [View status of bill.]
■ On 3/30/11, House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the bill.
■ Not reported out of committee for House vote.
second middle school in the B-CC clusterOn 3/8/11, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Cluster Middle School Site Selection Task Force issued its report on suitable sites for a second middle school in the B-CC cluster, recommending the Rosemary Hills/Lyttonsville Local Park as their first choice for the site of a second middle school in the cluster, with the Rock Creek Hills Local Park (site of former Kensington Junior High School) as an alternate. [View report.]
■ At their 4/28/11 meeting, the Board of Education chose Rock Creek Hills Local Park as their preferred site for B-CC Middle School #2; a feasibility study will be conducted in Spring 2011.
■ At the 11/2/11, Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Joshua Starr detailed all of the issues that have arisen during the BCC Middle School #2 Site Selection process, including the Open Meetings Act violation, the challenge of the site selection that is currently pending at the State Board of Education, and concluded his presentation by announcing that a new site selection committee should be formed and the process should be re-started.
■ On Monday, 11/7/11, WTOP radio reported that Superintendent Starr has stated a new site selection process will be undertaken.
■ Planning Board scheduled review and discussion of public sites evaluated in the new Report of the Site Selection Advisory Committee for Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2 for Monday, 4/9/12, at 5 p.m. [View new SSAC report.]
Petition for Declaratory RulingOn 3/2/11, the Montgomery County Board of Education filed a “Petition for Declaratory Ruling” with the Maryland Board of Education, seeking an order that would interpret the state’s Maintenance of Effort school funding law to require the county increase the MCPS budget for FY12 — the fiscal year beginning 7/1/11 — by $82 million (or 5.8 percent) above last year’s approved funding of $1.4 billion.
■ In a letter dated 3/10/11, Council President Ervin requested the county BoE withdraw its “Petition for Declaratory Ruling,” in order to avoid potential litigation. [See Council press release on 3/10/11 letter.]
■ On 4/28/11, County Council and County Executive Leggett sent a letter to the Maryland Board of Education saying they will not seek a waiver from the State’s “maintenance of effort” schools funding law but would instead pay a penalty, if required, in order to reset per-pupil spending at a lower level.
COUNTY AUTHORITY TO PERMIT SCHOOL CONSTRUCTIONState Delegate Richard Madaleno (D.-District 18) has pre-filed Bill MC 11-11, which gives Montgomery County “exclusive authority to issue permits and enforce regulations and codes associated with the construction, remodeling, and placement of certain school buildings; and generally relating to the authority of the Montgomery County government to issue permits and enforce regulations and codes associated with school buildings.” Public hearing before the county delegation set for 12/6/10, prior to the 2011 General Assembly session.
■ Background: In October 2011, the BOE installed two portable trailers at College Gardens Elementary School, in violation of the City of Rockville Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). The Rockville Planning Commission had denied the application because the portable trailers do not meet fire safety provisions. When the City of Rockville went to the Board of Education (BOE), the MCPS superintendent wrote to City officials, telling them that MCPS is not required to follow City regulations. The 9/23/10 letter from Dr. Weast (MCPS Superintendent) to the City of Rockville states in part, “MCPS is not obligated to comply with regulations of a local jurisdiction, such as Rockville’s APFO.” Madaleno’s Bill corrects that oversight, so that MCPS legally will not have to comply with local regulations. [View Bill MC11-11.]
■ 4/9/11 bill withdrawn by sponsor
Student Enrollment to Exceed 120% CapacityMemo dated 1/6/11 from School Superintendent Jerry Weast to Board of Education notes projected student enrollment in four school clusters is poised to exceed 120% capacity on one or more grade levels, sending those clusters into moratorium as of July of 2011, meaning no new residential development projects could be approved by the Planning Board in those cluster areas until additional classroom capacity is added. [View Weast 1/6/11 memo.]
■ On 5/26/11, County Council approved amendments to the FY11-16 Capital Improvements Program, including funding to add classroom capacity in B-CC, Northwest, Downcounty Consortium, and Richard Montgomery clusters to keep them from going into moratorium (see Current Issues: Public Finance webpage for link to Council press release on approved budget.]
Starr Appointed MCPS SuperintendentIn early 2011, the Board of Education held public forums on MCPS Superintendent search process. Citizens were invited to attend a series of public forums that were scheduled to gather community comment on the educational priorities and desired leadership qualities of the next superintendent of the Montgomery County Public Schools.
■ On 5/10/11, the BoE announced the hiring of Dr. Joshua Starr, who was currently the Superintendent of Schools in Stamford, Connecticut, to replace outgoing MCPS Superintendent of Schools Jerry Weast. He will start in the position on 7/1/11. [View press release, Starr contract and Starr bio