Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Inspector General says MCPS lied

Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) officials lied to push the scandal-ridden Kendale replacement school project, according to the county inspector general.

The IG report says that no evidence exists to support MCPS statements that the Seven Locks school community initiated or backed the county plan to demolish the school, turn it into a high-density housing project, and build an expensive new school on a smaller wooded lot more than a mile away.

According to the report, issued February 15, "Evidence does not support statements by MCPS that the Seven Locks Elementary School community proposed or supported the replacement school option."

It singled out Superintendent Jerry Weast. In a February 23, 2004 memo to the Board of Education, Weast falsely claimed that the "Winston Churchill Cluser leadership and the Seven Locks Elementary School (SLES) Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) have proposed a plan to build a replacement Seven Locks Elementary School on the Kendale Road site."

The inspector general said he could find no evidence of such a proposal, and "asked MCPS to provide documentation to support its statement that cluster and PTA leadership proposed a plan to build a Kendale Road replacement facility."

MCPS supplied three documents in response, one of which was testimony the SLES PTA president gave to the MCPS board in March 2004 - after Weast had written his memorandum assuring the board of the SLES PTA's support.

The testimony, according to the IG, "does not support the statement" of Weast. Instead, the SLES PTA president specifically stated that "we did not propose it [Kendale] to replace Seven Locks E.S."

Another Weast memo was described as "factually incorrect."

Weast was absolutely wrong, according to the IG: "the Seven Locks community generally, and the PTA and Churchill Cluster leaders specifically, are on record as opposing construction of a replacement school. "

Click here for a link to the full IG report.