Saturday, March 11, 2006

Tactical victory: Community action forces MCPS and Council to start over

County officials were confident they could grind us down.

But they were wrong. Patient and relentless community activism is paying off.

Citizens are well on the way to save Seven Locks Elementary School, contain out-of-control officials and require public accountability for waste, fraud and abuse in public education.

Following the IG report and its fallout, the Potomac Elementary PTA's vote against the Kendale project removed the last linchpin from MCPS and the County Council.

A joint statement from Council President George Leventhal, Council Education Committee Chair Michael Subin, School Board President Charles Haughey, and Schools Superintendent Jerry Weast put the best spin on a crushing defeat from the grassroots and from the law.

The statement, issued March 10, ignores Seven Locks activism and the IG, but it's good enough for now:

"The County Council and the Montgomery County Public Schools will work together on a new approach to alleviating school overcrowding in the elementary schools in the Churchill Cluster.

"The Council and the School Board had earlier endorsed a new Kendale site for Seven Locks Elementary School, believing it was the best way to address the needs of both the Seven Locks community and the Potomac Elementary School community. However, the Potomac Elementary School PTA recently rescinded its previous support for a new Kendale site. Given this change in the community's position, the Council and MCPS resolve to work together to explore all options.

"Toward that end, a joint task force of Council and MCPS staff will begin meeting immediately to work out the details and plans involved in moving forward. We hope to bring a revised Capital Improvements Program amendment incorporating this change before the Council's Education committee on March 23."

Click here for a pdf of the statement.