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Updated Draft Clarifies Intent of Revised Policy FAA

May 3, 2005
The Board of Education continues to welcome public comments on revised Policy FAA, Long-Range Educational Facilities Planning.

A special Board of Education Policy Committee meeting held on April 21 addressed some early community concerns with the language contained in the policy. A revised draft policy was issued and posted on the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) web site that clarified and reinforced the intent of the policy to continue to provide for substantive community input.

The improvements in the revised draft policy include the following:

• Language on parent, staff, and student involvement in facility planning processes was strengthened and added where applicable.

• Concerns were addressed that the policy provide for Board review, public hearing, and adoption of capacity calculations, schools size guidelines, and school site size.

• Additional clarity was added to the section on desired articulation patterns—to include student choice assignment plan differences from traditional student assignments.

• Additional clarity was added on Board creation of alternatives in school boundary reviews and geographic student choice assignment plans. In addition, language was added regarding the Board’s ability to adopt minor modifications to a boundary change of student choice assignment plan following a public hearing.

The closing date for comments on Policy FAA is May 9. A Board of Education Policy Committee meeting that is open to the public will be held on May 11 to consider those comments. Comments received after May 11 will be included with Board materials at the May 23 business meeting, when final action on the revised policy will be taken.

Legislation was enacted in the 2004 session of the Maryland General Assembly that changed the calculation for school capacity for funding through the State of Maryland Public School Construction Program. In order to receive state funding for school construction, each local school system must update its facilities master plan annually.

The next update, due July 1, 2005, must reflect the revised capacity calculations in order to justify projects for state funding.The current Policy FAA contains specific language regarding school capacity calculations that must be changed to enable Montgomery County Public Schools to submit its facilities master plan update by July 1. Therefore, final approval of the revised policy is scheduled for the May 23 meeting of the Board of Education.

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