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MCPS Capital Budget Plans New Elementary School in Clarksburg

With the release last week of Montgomery County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Jack R. Smith’s recommended Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP), detailing plans for new school construction and construction additions to MCPS buildings it was revealed that Smith and MCPS have approved a new elementary school be constructed in Clarksburg to be completed by August 2019.

The Recommended FY 2018 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2017–2022 Capital Improvements Program that was submitted to the Board of Education on Oct. 27. It maintains the level of funding for the six years that was approved in the adopted CIP. The County Council’s adopted FY 2017 Capital Budget and FY 2017–2022 CIP for MCPS totaled $1.729 billion.

“A new school is approved to open in August 2019 to relieve projected overutilization in the Clarksburg Cluster,” reads the MCPS Clarksburg Cluster master CIP plan. The school known as Clarksburg Village Site #2 is to be constructed on a 9.76-acre tract of land at the intersection of Snowden Farm Parkway and Newcut Road. However, the MCPS does not own the land. According to the Appendix X in the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2018 Capital Budget, the land is listed under “Master Planned School Sites Titled to Others” and not under “Board of Education Owned Sites.”

According to the report of the Site Selection Advisory Committee for the Clarksburg Village ES #2 which was filed in June of 2014, “The site currently is owned by Clarksburg Village, LLC. The site is relatively flat, having been rough graded by the developer.”

Every two years, the county approves a six-year Capital Improvements Program, which includes school construction and infrastructure projects. In off years, such as FY 2018, only amendments to the adopted CIP are considered.

MCPS is experiencing its ninth straight year of significant enrollment growth. Preliminary enrollment for this school year is 159,242, an increase of 21,497 students since 2007. By 2022, enrollment is expected to reach 168,480 students. In order to address this growth, nearly 15,000 seats have been added to increase capacity through new school openings and expansion of existing schools. And while most of this growth has taken place in elementary grades, many of these elementary school students have begun to enter middle and high school and, as a result, those schools quickly will become overutilized during the next six years.

In order to address this growth, the adopted 2017-2022 CIP includes funding for the planning, design, and/or construction of 17 elementary school capacity projects, seven middle school capacity projects, and two high school capacity projects. The adopted CIP also included planning and construction funds for 14 elementary school revitalization/expansion projects, along with four middle school and four high school revitalization/expansion projects. These projects will focus on aging infrastructure and address overutilization at many schools throughout the district. The adopted CIP also includes funding for many countywide systemic projects that will allow MCPS to upgrade or replace various building systems at several schools.

The Board of Education will consider Smith’s amendments and recommendations at a work session today, November 3. The Board will hold public hearings on Thursday, Nov. 10 and Monday, Nov. 14 on the CIP amendments and recommendations. Both hearings will begin at 7 pm and will be held at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.

The Board will approve a CIP amendment request on Monday, Nov. 21. The request will then be submitted to the County Executive and the County Council for consideration. For more information on the hearings and to sign up to speak, visit the Board of Education website.

The County Executive will issue his recommended FY 2017-2022 CIP amendments for all county agencies by mid-January for County Council discussion and action. The Council will hold a hearing in early February and will conduct work sessions in March and April, before adopting an approved FY 2018 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2017-2022 CIP by the end of May.

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