by Natalie Barnes
On December 15, 2015, I attended the Community Discussion on School Boundaries, Modernization, and Consolidation held at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville. The meeting consisted of three parts: a PowerPoint presentation by district personnel, small group discussion to share concerns and to brainstorm potential solutions, and brief presentations by each group to share the highlights of their discussion.
The PowerPoint presentation by district personnel reviewed the Educational Facilities Master Plan and the Capital Improvement Program. Pupil Accounting and School Boundaries then shared information about funding, enrollment trends, concerns about current facility usage, and potential solutions to consider.
The small group discussions focused around the following:
- Buck Lodge and its current utilization (nearly 120% of capacity)
- Hoyer Montessori and growing demand for the Montessori program
- Thomas Stone and Mt. Rainier and their seemingly divided community
- University Park and how closing schools can be a concern as they are also community centers
- Issues regarding maintenance of schools
- Concerns about funding
I was impressed with the attendance. A Board of Education member was present as well as administration and teachers from some of the local schools in addition to many parents.
Furthermore, I was pleased with the sincerity of the presenters’ desire to hear our ideas. In fact, they are still seeking input. You can do so by filling out an online comment form, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or writing to 14201 School Ln Room 211, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772. You may also share your comments on the proposed changes at a public hearing on Tuesday, February 23rd. Written comments in advance of the hearing may be sent to email@example.com. The Board of Education is expected to hold a final vote on the proposed changes at their February 25th Board Meeting.