Since Superintendent Joshua Starr released his recommended capital budget amendments, Montgomery County residents have kept a close watch on the proposals.
On November 12 and 15, the Board of Education held public hearings on the MCPS Capital Improvements Program. Much of the testimony came from cluster coordinators in the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, or MCCPTA. Nonetheless, participation was not limited to PTA; mayors, SGA presidents, and concerned citizens all had ample opportunity to contribute during the public session.
In her testimony, MCCPTA President Janette Gilman explained how each year, MCCPTA goes out to schools across the county to hear the concerns of PT(S)A members. Then, MCCPTA forms budget priorities to guide its advocacy. President Gilman spoke in favor of the increase in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, or “HVAC”, repair funds. Last year, the County Council unfortunately rejected the Board of Education’s HVAC request.
“We are fully behind the $11.46 million increase in HVAC,” she said. She concluded her remarks with a firm statement: “Heat in February is not optional.”
President Gilman also backed a $2.49 million increase in planned life-cycle asset replacement funds, which purchase necessary items such as new fire alarms and public address systems.
In addition to these priorities, many MCCPTA leaders expressed relief and gratitude at the success of the superintendent’s technology plan.
“The availability of technology has been a consistent concern from local PT(S)As”, noted MCCPTA Recording Secretary Richie Yarrow. “While some schools might have only one or two Promethean boards, others might have enough money to provide a Promethean board for every classroom… We hope the technology plan will fix this.”
Article by Shannon Jin, SAC Press Correspondent