If you’ve experienced the inconvenience of having to learn from a ‘portable’ classroom, you’ll be glad to hear that MoCo’s Board of Education recently approved new amendments to the Capital Improvements Program. This program serves schools in a variety of ways: it regulates funds that go to heating and air conditioning, infrastructure projects, and most importantly, the construction of new schools. With Montgomery County’s student population increasing by about 10,000 students in the coming year, these new amendments are expected to release strain on the county’s facilities.
In order to address this strain, this year’s passed CIP (which includes plans for the 2013 through 2018 school years) includes amendments that fund six new elementary schools addition projects, one new elementary school, and one new middle school. Although the amendments do delay most middle and high school projects for at least two years, it maintains the completion date for existing elementary school programs and will include many new, smaller, addition projects.
Although it may seem like these projects are set to begin work on, there are still a great deal of investigative studies that need to be conducted to determine exactly how these projects will be implemented. The Downcounty Consortium Capacity Study was approved for this very reason: it will compare the costs for different options of classroom additions, and may even conclude that a new school, not just an addition, is needed to meet the needs of the community.
These decisions aren’t being made behind closed doors: community input is crucial to the success of the CIP! Numerous community wide meetings are being scheduled so that students and parents can discuss the scope of these new projects, provide input, and debate different options. By getting in on the discussion now, students can share their voice with CIP leaders and can help to get rid of those inconvenient ‘portables’ for good.
Article by Sharika Dhar, Junior at Richard Montgomery High School, SAC press correspondent