The Board of Education approved the Fiscal Year 2009 Capital Budget and its six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) for FY 2009–2014 at its November 27 meeting. The changes will fund new classroom space at several schools—reducing the number of portable classrooms used in the school system—and provide additional resources to enhance school security and classroom technology.
The approved FY 2009 Capital Budget appropriation request totals $269,185, and the FY 2009–2014 CIP request totals $1.497 billion.
The Board approval of Superintendent Jerry D. Weast’s recommended budget followed a November 8 CIP work session and public hearings on November 14 and 15.
“Members of the Board of Education worked very hard as a team to approve a fiscally responsible capital budget and Capital Improvements Program,” said Board of Education President Nancy Navarro. “I am pleased that we were able to show fiscal restraint in the face of an uncertain economic situation while addressing facilities improvements that our students need and deserve.”
Based on the special legislative session completed recently in Annapolis, it is likely that Montgomery County will receive more than the $40 million in state aid budgeted by the County Council for the FY 2009 Capital Budget. As a result of the new information, on November 21 Weast released a revised recommended FY 2009–2014 CIP. It includes increasing the FY 2009 appropriation request for Redland Middle School by $6.5 million, to $12.5 million. The original request would fund projects at Redland that include extending existing walls to provide better acoustics, interior lighting, ceilings, paint, security systems and driveway modifications to separate the bus loop and student drop-off/parking. The additional funds would allow relocation of the administrative suite to the front of the school, renovation of existing science laboratories and renovation of old labs into new classrooms.
The new recommendation also shifts $2 million from FY 2010 to FY 2009 to begin site work for the modernization at Paint Branch High School. Both of these changes were included in the Board-approved CIP.
The budget includes recommendations for conducting two boundary studies in spring 2008 to create new service areas for Bells Mill Elementary School and for the new Clarksburg Elementary School #8. The superintendent’s recommendation to study collocation of the Stephen Knolls and Carl Sandburg special education centers was withdrawn prior to the Nov. 8 work session.
Other CIP budget request items over six-year planning period
-Opening of one elementary school in the Downcounty Consortium
-Reopening of one elementary school in the Downcounty Consortium to accommodate overuse at Oakland Terrace and Woodlin elementary schools
-Construction of 14 school additions
-Planning and construction of nine new elementary school addition projects
-Modernization of three high schools, three middle schools and 12 elementary schools
-Construction of 19 elementary school gymnasiums
-Construction of facility improvements to two middle schools
-Funding for new initiatives in the School Security and Technology Modernization projects
-Funding for systemic projects such as Planned Life-cycle Asset Replacement; roof replacement; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; water and indoor air quality; and improved safe access to schools.
At the November 27 meeting, the Board also added several amendments to the budget. They include:
-Moving of money from architectural funds—requiring no additional funding request—to conduct a feasibility study for future improvements at Ridgeview Middle School, including exploring the possibility of segmenting funding for the project.
-Adding $150,000 to the budget for whiteboards for Ridgeview Middle School.
-At a cost of $38,000, expanding the Clarksburg/Damascus middle school feasibility study to include a possible addition at Montgomery Village Middle School.
-Forming a work group, in advance of any future CIP recommendations, to explore facility needs of stand-alone special needs and alternative programs, including the possibility of future collocation of such schools; the committee would include constituents who are part of the school community.
The MCPS FY 2009 Capital Budget and FY 2009–2014 CIP will be sent to the county executive and County Council. The council will approve Montgomery County’s capital budget and CIP next spring.