Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"The notion that there is no other place to construct this school simply is nonsense..."

[An October 23rd email from Ms. Fern Shepard to Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr.]

Dear Dr. Starr,

I am a parent of three children in MCPS schools in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster, and I am writing to express my strong opposition to your staff's proposal to build a second middle school on Rock Creek Hills Park.

Your staff's proposal for a second middle school at Rock Creek Park is a mistake for three reasons.  First, this proposal will result in an unnecessarily expensive and inadequate school.  Many other viable and less-expensive options exist to redress overcrowding in our cluster schools, and you have been mislead if you have been told otherwise.  Second, we have worked hard in our cluster for racial and economic integration of our schools, and this middle school proposal threatens to unwind decades of success.  At the very least, this proposal will exacerbate racial and economic disparity in our cluster, and for absolutely no good reason because the overcrowding can be addressed while maintaining our tradition of integration.  Finally, we live in an increasingly crowded and urbanized area, and our park lands are precious resources that cannot be replaced.  The unnecessary destruction of a heavily used and important park in this cluster is a more than a waste, it is unforgivable.  The notion that there is no other place to construct this school simply is nonsense, and it demonstrates the fundamental failure of the site selection process to consider the full range of options to redress school overcrowding in our cluster.

We ask that you take the time to give us, the parents of the children in this cluster, the opportunity to share with you our options for addressing school overcrowding in our area.  This problem can be solved without controversy, without unnecessary expense, and without delay.  Please do not approve this project for the CIP without at least taking the time to talk to those of us whose children will be most affected.


Fern Shepard
Kensington, MD

      County Executive Isiah Leggett
      Montgomery County Council
      Montgomery County Board of Education
      State Senator Richard Madaleno

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