Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Weast meets Orwell: MCPS calls leaky portables 'learning cottages'

More Orwell-speak from the people who run our school system: Jerry Weast kept his word and done away with the hundreds of temporary classrooms that parents, teachers, and MCPS officials have always called "portables."

The "portables" are no more.

MCPS has re-named them. We are now to call them "learning cottages."

The Almanac reports that the new "learning cottages" at the cramped and overflowing Bells Mill Elementary School are a bit leaky. Superintendent Weast says that learning cottages less than 11 years old need no replacement. But according to the Almanac, portables made and installed less than a decade ago were full of mildew and rot.

Janis Sartucci, former Churchill Cluster PTA coordinator, took pictures of the mildewed portables as they were dismantled at Bells Mill over the summer.

"I saw rotting wood on portables less than 10 years old," she told the Almanac. "If you talk to manufacturers . . . [portables] are not meant to be around ten years, and they need constant maintenance. The school system’s policy has been to put them down and leave them. They should be inspecting them every year, but there’s no money in the budget to go and repair these structures."