Thursday, July 7, 2011

"... the site and neighborhood are inadequate to host a middle school with full parity to Westland."

Haverhill Drive
Kensington, MD 20895

Mr. Christopher Barclay
President, Board of Education
Montgomery County Public Schools
850 Hungerford Drive, Room 123
Rockville, MD 20850

July 6, 2011

Dear Mr. Barclay,

In a recent meeting with Maryland Parks and Planning, it came to my attention that you and the School Board have portrayed the Rock Creek Hills community as "NIMBYs". Though it is convenient for you to attempt to marginalize this community, I urge you to actually read the letters and testimony you have received. None of it is "not in my back yard" lingo or sentiment. It primarily revolves around a belief that the site and neighborhood are inadequate to host a middle school with full parity to Westland. This was the sentiment voiced in the vote of 240 to 10 at the Rock Creek Hills Civic Association meeting. These numbers indicate a much more serious issue than a "NIMBY" issue and at this juncture, if anyone's credibility is at stake, it would be the School Board for a squirrely site selection process that left too many people out of the loop and failed to look further than parks as possible school sites.

We have also pointed out that though the School Board has a reclaim right to the park, you leased 1/3 or more of the previous school site to a seniors' community for 99 years. The School Board does not have access to the full land and facilities that were once a junior high school, creating one of many challenges for the site.

Please note that over 30 pieces of media exposure in over 10 different outlets have viewed the School Board unfavorably in how the site selection process has been handled. The community does not write these articles, reporters do. Please do not attempt to make it the community's fault for the School Board's short sightedness when in comes to planning ahead and making too many decisions behind closed doors.

My second request is to install a professional facilitator in the feasibility study meetings. Mr. Cross may be knowledgeable about school resources and procedures, but he is not an unbiased facilitator who can help all of the attendees accomplish the goals of the meetings. Additionally, the minutes of the meetings have fallen short of accuracy and have required our diligent attention in order to make sure the records accurately reflect the discussions, requests and responses.


Cathy Fink

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