Sunday, November 13, 2005

Seven Locks Coalition praises Weast for changing his mind on surplusing

[Note: What follows is the text of a press statement issued by the Seven Locks Coalition on November 12, 2005]


Weast Now Against Surplusing Seven Locks Elementary School!

The Seven Locks Coalition, representing over 6000 families in the Seven Locks Road area, applauds the statement by County Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast, on November 10, 2005, indicating his opposition to declaring Seven Locks Elementary School surplus.

In a statement released by the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Public Information Office, Dr. Weast stated that “there are no plans to surplus the current Seven Locks school site now and, during my tenure as superintendent of schools, I will not recommend any such surplusing of that school site.”

The Coalition welcomes, as well, the recent oral statement made by County School Board President Patricia O’Neill. She stated this week that, as long as she remains on the School Board, she will oppose surplusing the school facility at the intersection of Seven Locks Road and Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, Maryland.

These statements represent a major change for the Superintendent and County School Board.

On March 22, 2004, Dr. Weast stunned the Seven Locks community and PTA when he said that the current Seven Locks School “would no longer be needed for school purposes.”

He asked the School Board to authorize MCPS staff to explore opportunities for leveraging the value of the Seven Locks site to help fund construction of the Seven Locks “replacement” school on nearby Kendale Road. The School Board approved a formal resolution to that effect in 2004.

Mindful of the potential for future policy changes, the Seven Locks community looks forward to working with the School Board and MCPS to ensure the continuing educational use of the current Seven Locks School and to maintain the surrounding recreation area for public use.

The Coalition has thus requested the opportunity to help identify a specific school use of the Seven Locks facility before the County’s final approval of the FY 2007 Capital Budget and FY 2007-2010 Capital Improvements Program in late Spring 2006.