Well, it seems that the Montgomery County Board of Education is at it again. New signs were recently posted around the Waring Station property, declaring it a future school site. Not a holding school, mind you, but a school. Where was the public notice of this decision?
Here was one resident’s response:
As a Montgomery County resident, I am writing to ask for your help regarding a property in my neighborhood owned by the Montgomery County Board of Education at 18815 Waring Station Road in Germantown. The BOE has not been forthcoming about their plans for this property and, in some instances, has actively sought to exclude our neighborhood from the decision-making process. I am hoping that you can be our advocate for greater transparency from the BOE.
I understand that the BOE does own the property. However, according to the 1989 Master Plan for Germantown – the active plan for our community, since we were geographically excluded from the 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan – no further development was planned for this property. Many of my neighbors purchased their homes based upon this information.
In January 2011 – prior to the BOE authorizing a feasibility study for the Waring Station property – we found surveyors trespassing in our community. This was how we found out that the land was being considered for a holding school. No public meeting, no public notice, nothing. When you consider that the 8.7 acre forested portion of this land had remained untouched by BOE for 59 years, you might understand why folks were upset.
When we rallied and tried to come to the February 8, 2011 BOE meeting (where the feasibility study was to be authorized), we were turned away and told the meeting was closed, even though it appeared to be open to the public on the agenda. When we asked to have the agenda item authorizing the work postponed, we were denied, despite more than 60 members of our community signing a petition opposing a holding school at this location.
Ultimately, several of us filed complaints with the State Board of Education. After that, the BOE chose to convene a site selection committee for the upcounty holding school, which met through last year and ultimately recommended that the holding school be placed in a different location. Strangely, no money was authorized to build the holding school in the latest CIP.
Recently, the BOE has put up signs on the Waring Station property, stating that it is now a future school site. This is, once again, news to our community and many of my fellow residents are quite upset. For some folks, this is their first public notice. And once again, no dialogue, no information, nothing from BOE. This is not transparency!
Personally, I want the Waring Station property to be preserved as a park. The property includes 8.7 acres of woods, and has been undisturbed for at least 60 years. If the property can’t be preserved as a park, I am hoping that BOE will use the property to teach Outdoor Environmental Education. Roberto Clemente Middle School, with over 1100 students, is just across the street.
I appreciate your attention to my concerns and I thank you for reading this far. Please help my neighborhood hold BOE accountable and keep us in the loop regarding the Waring Station property.
Save Waring Station Woods!