Friday, November 11, 2011

"You have done our children and community a great service ..." [Testimony at last night's Board of Ed hearing]

Good evening,

My name is Teddy Springer and I am a resident of Chevy Chase View. I am here to applaud wholeheartedly Dr. Starr’s recent recommendation to reopen the site selection process for the new middle school in the B-CC cluster.  It has not been an easy situation for all involved, with differing opinions and differing approaches. Dr. Starr has taken a difficult step and shown the community that he is willing to do the right thing. He has shown great leadership in doing so, and it is very much appreciated. Now I ask that the members of the Board continue this forward momentum by approving the Superintendant’s recommendation.

I am also pleased to see that Dr. Starr has addressed many of my concerns regarding the Site Selection Advisory Committee. Reaching out to and including various stakeholders, soliciting various site options, and providing the public with the report (if no private property is under consideration) are all vital components in making an informed decision concerning the new middle school site. Equally important is that you direct MCPS staff to provide an objective analysis of truly viable sites, ones that meet your own criteria for a middle school complex, and to tap their creative side to identify options other than parkland.

Naturally, my concerns with the size and adequacy of Rock Creek Hills Park and the cost of building the school there still remain. These concerns consistently lead me back to the issue of equity with Westland and the issue of socio-economic diversity. Our cluster has worked hard over many years to integrate various neighborhoods into the assorted elementary schools, and the caliber of B-CC High School is a testament to our success. I implore you not to turn back the clock and undo this hard-fought achievement by siting the school in a deficient location. A site more centrally situated will ensure the ability of the school system to keep the balance that has produced so many enlightened, well-educated students.

I now look forward to a site selection process that will proceed with input from all affected groups and communities.  I sincerely hope that MCPS staff will work diligently to provide well-researched, viable options and that they will think creatively when bringing ideas to the table.  As a mother of children in MCPS and a member of the community, I pledge to do all that I can to help this process move forward in a positive and productive manner.  And I urge members of other communities, and even those in my own community, with varying opinions to work together in a constructive, affirmative and respectful manner to reach the goal that we all want: a top-notch middle school in our cluster. So although I feel there are still issues that must be studied in order for this school to be built in the best place for our children and our cluster, I am hopeful that we are now closer to that end.

So to Dr. Starr: many thanks for your good work. You have done our children and community a great service by putting a stop to the flawed process and giving us all the chance to do it right. And to the members of the Board: please proceed in this positive direction and approve the recommendation. By doing so, you will ensure that we will build a quality middle school at an appropriate site, something all parents – and taxpayers – want.

Thank you.

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