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1. Public Comment Sought on Board Policy FAA, Educational Facilities Planning
On April 17th, the PTA held a special meeting with the Board of Education to advocate BMES’ need for modernization of our school building due to the age of the building and overcrowding. The following Board Policy FAA has recently been revised and is now open for public comment. Please review the proposed revisions. Public comments are accepted until September 7, 2018 at: https://mcpsweb.wufoo.com/forms/m1pbc5ga13l8byo/
From the Board of Education website:
The Board of Education proposes revisions, as well as renaming, Board Policy FAA, Educational Facilities Planning. Revisions include updates to the planning process used to provide high-quality facilities for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).
Key changes include:
A More Unified Planning Process : The revisions apply to all facility planning, including:
- Capital Strategies , such as county-wide systemic replacement projects to sustain schools in good condition and extend their useful life, as well as major capital projects to add capacity; renovate, adapt, repurpose, or replace existing facilities; or reuse or upgrade existing space in other facilities as appropriate. These strategies are incorporated into the six-year Capital Improvements Program, which the Board utilizes to request funding from the Montgomery County Council and the State of Maryland.
- Non-Capital Strategies , such as boundary changes, geographic student choice assignment plans, and/or school closures in the event of declining enrollment levels.
To provide a more holistic approach, revitalization/expansion projects will be incorporated into the facility planning process as major capital projects, and the Board will rescind Policy FKB, Sustaining and Modernizing MCPS Facilities, after merging key elements into Policy FAA.
For both capital and non-capital strategies, the proposed revisions to Policy FAA set out the key elements of the planning process, starting with analysis of:
- Student enrollment projections;
- Educational program requirements;
- Facility utilization rates;
- School site size;
- Capacity calculations;
- The impact of county planning as well as trends in development, land use, transportation, and housing patterns; and
- Key Facility Indicators.
Key Facility Indicators: The last element of this analysis is a new approach that takes into consideration facility characteristics that influence the learning and working experience, such as: safety, security, and accessibility requirements; indoor environment conditions; program and space relationships; building quality; as well as infrastructure and asset data, and other relevant characteristics. This approach will be used to identify and provide a basis for prioritizing options responsive to changing facility needs, as well as to adopt and revise a schedule of county-wide systemic replacement projects and major capital projects at specific schools.
Longer-Term Planning Framework: Building on the pilot project undertaken in consultation with MGT of America Consulting, the Board proposes to utilize a longer-term scenario framing framework (beyond the six-year Capital Improvements Program interval) that will help position MCPS to respond quickly to changing enrollment and land use dynamics that may occur in the future.
Multiple Strategies for Community Input: The proposed revisions encourage broad outreach using multiple strategies for obtaining community input as MCPS develop options for selecting sites for new schools, changing school boundaries, establishing geographic student choice assignment plans, closing or consolidating schools, and such other facility-related issues as identified by the superintendent. Strategies may include, but are not limited to:
- Systemwide committees
- Focus groups, task forces, work groups, roundtable discussion groups;
- Surveys, technologically facilitated communications, and/or
- Other planning sessions, such as charrettes that are designed for collaboration among all interested or impacted parties and provides information and feedback to staff.
Factors for School Boundaries, Site Selection, and Student Assignment Plans : In addition to the equity implications of Board Policy ACA, Nondiscrimination, Equity, and Cultural Proficiency , the Board proposes to retain the existing four factors to guide these key facilities planning processes:
- Demographic characteristics of the student population;
- Stability of school assignments over time; andFacility utilization.
The proposed revisions add language adapted from Regulation FAA-RA to provide greater clarity regarding each factor. For instance, the description of the first factor explains that options will strive to promote the creation of a diverse student body in each of the affected schools. With respect to the second factor, the revisions explain that, unless otherwise required, options should take into account the geographic proximity of communities to schools, as well as articulation, traffic, transportation patterns, and topography. Moreover, options should consider, at a minimum, not only schools within a high school cluster but also other adjacent schools.
The Policy also requires the superintendent to develop options that reflect a range of approaches to advance these factors and provide a rationale for each. Any alternatives put forward by the Board should explain how they advance one or more of these factors.
The Board voted to approve an amendment to the committee draft and took tentative action. The draft of tentatively approved Policy FAA is available for public comment until Friday, September 7, 2018. In addition, over the spring and summer, MCPS staff will conduct a robust stakeholder engagement process around the proposed revisions.
Amendments to the FY19-24 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) will be developed during the summer and through the fall for the Superintendent’s recommendation and the Board of Education’s review in October and November. Staff will begin to develop the enrollment and facility analysis for the CIP submission in accordance with the tentatively approved revisions to Policy FAA. Any adjustments to the CIP that are required subsequent to final approval of Policy FAA can be made during the Board of Education’s CIP review process.