Thursday, June 16, 2011

"This school will not offer parity with the rest of the county." [Testimony at tonight's Board of Ed meeting]

My name is Teddy Springer. I am a resident of Chevy Chase View, and I live close to Rock Creek Hills Park. I am a parent of two students in MCPS and I agree we have a problem with overcrowding in our schools.

But I am concerned with the rush to judgement, which started with the flawed, inaccurate site selection process. I do question the process; I do think the process is still a valid concern. The lack of community outreach, the lack of community input is still a big part of this picture. But my greatest concern is not, as some might think, a school in our neighborhood. My concern is a school of lesser quality in anyone’s neighborhood. And if a school is built at Rock Creek Hills Park, I do believe it will not offer its students the same quality education that Westland students get. This school will not offer parity with the rest of the county. And that is a very valid, troubling issue.

Rock Creek Hills Park is too small to support the structures, the fields, and the curriculum needed at a middle school that will feed into B-CC. Will the students have a middle years program? Will they be prepared for the IB program? Will they have the same physical education and athletic programs? Or will the students need to be bused off site to participate in sports? Or, will parents be expected to drive their middle schoolers to practice? So… will parents from all parts of our cluster feel that all our children are getting the same quality education? I think not.

Additionally, I am greatly concerned with the cost needed to engineer an inadequate, unequal school onto this site. The topography, the infrastructure, the safety, the access, the senior home, the significant environmental concerns are all factors driving up the cost to the taxpayers. Individually, these concerns are troubling. Taken as a whole, they are an alarming impediment to using this site.

So I conclude by urging you respectfully to reopen the site selection process. This process to date has been flawed, the way this has played out is wrong. So, please, stop now, take the opportunity to fix this while you can. Do the right thing for our students and give them a school that achieves parity. Thank you.

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