The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - Twit­ter: @JClink_En­qGaz

re­vealed the des­per­ate state of af­fairs in crit­i­cal need of more schools in the north­ern part of the county. In my dis­trict, the schools are lit­er­ally burst­ing at the seams due to over­crowd­ing. We have no more room for ad­di­tional tem­po­rary school trail­ers.”

Tav­eras urged the board mem­bers to con­sider fund­ing for the con­struc­tion of four new schools, as well as re­place Hy­attsville Ele­men­tary and Hy­attsville Mid­dle schools in cy­cle 1, which con­sists of $3 bil­lion and 32 projects to take place from FY 2017-22.

“I also ask that you move up the con­struc­tion of Nicholas Orem Mid­dle School since it meets the cri­te­ria pri­or­i­tized un­der Ti­tle I — that is overuti­liza­tion and in­ad­e­quate school con­di­tions,” Tav­eras said. “The level of over­crowd­ing is un­ac­cept­able and dan­ger­ous. We can­not be neg­li­gent in ad­dress­ing what is a threat to phys­i­cal safety and learn­ing out­comes for our chil­dren, and the po­ten­tial for a much brighter fu­ture for our county.”

Next to speak was Joanne Cash, a Tem­ple Hills res­i­dent who is the ed­u­ca­tion chair­woman of the Hill­crest Mar­low Heights Civic As­so­ci­a­tion. She tes­ti­fied about the need to re­con­struct/mod­ern­ize Ben­jamin Stod­dert Mid­dle School.

“Dur­ing my ob­ser­va­tion of the fa­cil­ity, I was able to view some is­sues and con­cerns where ren­o­va­tions def­i­nitely need to be com­pleted,” said Cash. “One of the things I ob­served was the third-floor ceil­ing where you can see large, brown stains from wa­ter leak­age where prefer­ably, the roof needs some se­ri­ous im­prove­ment. There are doors lead­ing to the stairs that have bro­ken glass in the top por­tion. There’s also a lot of wear and tear on many of the doors, stairs and the ban­nis­ters.”

In ad­di­tion, Cash said the girls’ re­strooms have bro­ken locks or no locks on the stall doors, while some of the re­cep­ta­cles in the stalls are miss­ing or hang­ing off the wall. All of the win­dows, along with blinds, need to be re­placed as well, she said.

“The build­ing is ex­tremely hot in some ar­eas and cool in oth­ers,” she said. “Ad­vo­cat­ing and pro­tect­ing our chil­dren’s right to learn is cru­cial. I’m ask­ing the board to ex­pe­dite a full ren­o­va­tion-re­place­ment project and pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity for our chil­dren to achieve their high­est po­ten­tial in a safe, com­fort­able and healthy en­vi­ron­ment at Ben­jamin Stod­dert Mid­dle School.”

Hy­attsville res­i­dent Daniel Muth, a mem­ber of the Hy­attsville Ele­men­tary PTA, spoke about the im­pact of school fa­cil­ity is­sues on the com­mu­nity.

“The fa­cil­i­ties at Hy­attsville ele­men­tary and mid­dle schools are well past their an­tic­i­pated life spans and are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fail­ing sys­tems and ex­ces­sive uti­liza­tion rates,” Muth said. “Hy­attsville Ele­men­tary is now at 150 per­cent ca­pac­ity and is pe­ri­od­i­cally more crowded as parts of the school are shut down to ad­dress the many me­chan­i­cal and struc­tural chal­lenges. … The phys­i­cal states of our lo­cal schools in Hy­attsville and around the county are an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the com­mu­nity trust in and em­brace of our lo­cal schools.”

De­spite such chal­lenges, Muth said sup­port for Hy­attsville ele­men­tary and mid­dle schools is high within the com­mu­nity. Thanks to the work of many vol­un­teers and ac­tive PTA mem­bers, those schools are get­ting ad­vo­cacy for more mod­ern­iza­tion and ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tions, he said.

“The lo­cal PTA and the peo­ple of Hy­attsville are do­ing their best to el­e­vate our lo­cal schools,” Muth said. “It serves as a cat­a­lyst for an in­clu­sive and in­volved com­mu­nity as a whole. We care deeply about our schools but we also care about our kids. So it’s nat­u­ral to won­der about class sizes, over­crowd­ing and many of the above prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with in­suf­fi­cient fa­cil­i­ties.”

The CIP in­cludes de­tailed cap­i­tal project fund­ing re­quests for the up­com­ing fis­cal year, be­gin­ning July 1, as well as five pro­gres­sive years of planned cap­i­tal projects which are pri­or­i­tized based on school fa­cil­i­ties needs as jus­ti­fied in the ap­proved FY 2017 Ed­u­ca­tional Fa­cil­i­ties Mas­ter Plan. The CIP and mas­ter plan are both fully aligned with the school sys­tem’s aca­demic mis­sion and goals as stated in the PGCPS Strate­gic Plan and the 2015 PGCPS 5-Year Bridge to Ex­cel­lence Com­pre­hen­sive Mas­ter Plan. ac­cord­ing to a PGCPS press re­lease.

The pro­posed FY 20182023 CIP bud­get was present to the board of ed­u­ca­tion on Aug. 25 for re­view and dis­cus­sion. The fi­nal CIP will be pre­sented for ap­proval by the board on Sept. 22. Once ap­proved, the CIP will be for­warded to the county coun­cil, county ex­ec­u­tive as well as the State of Mary­land for fund­ing re­view.

Both the county and state will re­view the de­tails in an­tic­i­pa­tion of ap­prov­ing cap­i­tal funds in the spring.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.