Monday, June 27, 2011

"... don't build a costly and deficient school on this little park." [Testimony at tonight's Board of Ed meeting]

Good evening. My name is James Pekar. I'm here again to ask you not to build a middle school that would be uniquely inadequate, county-wide, on the site of Rock Creek Hills Park.

Such a school would be the middle school on the smallest site, in the entire county, without an adjacent park to provide outdoor recreation and athletics. Indeed, last week at the "facility advisory committee", two out of three plans presented put the basketball courts in the bus lane. That's right, school buses would have to drive through basketball courts, that's how little room there is in this small park.

MCPS continues to portray the site as "the former middle school site," which is inaccurate. A recent letter, signed by Mr. Barclay, incorrectly stated that: "An important consideration in the Board of Education's selection of the Rock Creek Hills Local Park site was the fact that this was the previous location of Kensington Junior High School. Kensington Junior High School was closed in 1979 and the property transferred to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for redevelopment as the park that exists today."

Mr. Barclay, you have been misinformed. The "previous location of Kensington Junior High School" included what is today the location of the Kensington Park retirement community. The KJH site was broken up. About the northern third was deeded to the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, which built what is now the Kensington Park retirement community, home to over 200 seniors. This took about a third of the KJH site; took the road access to the North; and severed what had been a through North-South road – all rendering the remainder, Rock Creek Hills Park, stunningly deficient as a potential middle school site.

Mr. Barclay, and members of the Board, don't build a costly and deficient school on this little park. I ask you, please, to embrace opportunities to work together to identify creative solutions to create a school that will support our students with offerings that will be equitable with those at Westland middle school, and with other middle schools in our County.

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