Monday, May 23, 2011

"In their own words." [Testimony at tonight's Board of Ed meeting.]

[Testimony by Shannon Hamm at the May 23rd meeting of the Montgomery County Board of Education]

As a resident of Rock Creek Hills, I am here tonight to share my concerns about the lack of due process that the Board of Education undertook in voting to choose Rock Creek Hills Park (RCHP) as the preferred site.

What was the basis for this decision?

It could not have been the letter received on April 28th from the County Executive. Mr. Leggett in this April 28 letter to the Board clearly urged the Board to "...undertake an aggressive community and public input process to ensure residents concerns are discussed and addressed before action is taken." I cannot understand how you are disregarding these very clear words.

It could not have been the letter received on April 27th from Chairwoman Carrier, Montgomery County Planning Board of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, where she is explicit about the Commission’s serious concerns about the overall site selection process as it relates to use of parkland for school sites. She goes on to say "...M-NPPC has the fiduciary responsibility to the public to preserve parkland. We recognize there may be rare occasions; a higher public interest [exists] to which we must defer. However, we are not inclined to accept a routine school site
selection as such an exception."

I am left searching for a reasonable explanation, I have written to Mr. Barclay and Ms. O’Neill for such an answer.

I do know that you have key county officials that are publicly upset and that do not support your inability to adequately plan for your school needs.

I now recognize that your inability to plan is trying to constitute an emergency for choosing Rock Creek Hills Park as a school. I will not stand for that as a taxpayer.

I ask that you re-open the site selection process to include the appropriate residents to participate in an open, informative process.

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