Thursday, May 18, 2006

Citizen action wins - Seven Locks school is saved!

By a unanimous vote, the County Council handed a harsh rebuke to the school board and Superintendent Jerry Weast by saving Seven Locks Elementary School.

The May 17 vote came after two years of hard citizen action - action that school board member Steve "Abramoff" Abrams denounced as "guerrilla warfare."

Overriding the discredited school board, the County Council voted to keep Seven Locks a kindergarten through fifth grade school for neighborhood children. Councilman Howard Denis withdrew his amendment to build the Kendale school on the Seven Locks site by 2008, and introduced an amendment to expand and modernize Seven Locks as follows:

Funding for "modernization," to include a new gymnasium, for completion by December, 2011.

Addition of 4 to 8 classrooms as part of a permanent structure (not portables), based on Churchill Cluster needs, that could double enrollment from about 260 to as many as 500.

Funding for immediate upgrades, including facility planning for FY 2007 ($50,000), planning and design for FY 2008 ($400,000), and planning and design for FY 2009 ($450,000).

The package would assist other Churchill Cluster schools, including Bells Mill modernization to a core school of 640 students, immediate and longer-term repairs at Potomac Elementary, and a community-based boundary study.