Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"There is no parity here." [Testimony at last night's Board of Ed meeting]

My name is Teddy Springer. I am a resident of Chevy Chase View, and I live near Rock Creek Hills Park. Over the years, I have spent much time working in my children’s schools. My daughter is currently at Westland, and despite the complaint of many that Westland is so far away, I go every week to volunteer. So I know it is a terrific school, providing my daughter with all the facilities, opportunities, and support she needs to get a top-notch education.

I also know the park up the street from my house. I have already talked to you previously about the process that has brought us to this point. It was flawed, it was wrong, and it is putting our cluster at risk of building a new, expensive middle school that does not serve us properly. I have already asked you to reopen the site selection process. I am respectfully asking you again.

This park is too small to sustain a middle school complex that would achieve parity in the B-CC cluster. I understand that you can engineer just about anything, but does that make it right? Do you want to force an expensive, inadequate complex onto the site and say you have met the needs of your community just because you have produced a school?

Because you won’t have produced a school that provides a quality education on par with Westland. Students attending a school built at this site will not have the same amenities. I have attended the feasibility study meetings. I saw last week that the architect has produced three different site plans – before the completion of the environmental and traffic studies, before the determination that the site is actually feasible. In two plans, he has the buses entering the school property directly over the basketball courts because he has no other way of producing the required physical education and athletic components needed at a middle school. He wants our children to play basketball on courts that have the wear and tear of 30 buses traveling twice a day in and out of the school. Is that where you would want your children to play basketball?

He has included two softball fields overlaid on two soccer fields. But he doesn’t know if they are regulation size. If they are not, will our children have had the training to be able to make the very competitive teams at B-CC? Will they ever be able to host home games or will parents constantly be driving their children to away games? Will parents have to drive their children to other locations even for practices just because there is inadequate field space?

There is no parity here. You are not solving our current problem by rushing to judgment; you are not solving our current problem by producing an expensive, inferior school and creating a divide in our cluster. This process to date has been flawed, the way this has played out is wrong. So please stop now, reopen the site selection process and take the opportunity to fix this while you can. Do the right thing for our students and give them a school that achieves parity.

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