About a week ago, residents of the Woodlake community in Germantown, Maryland started seeing surveyors in our neighborhood. They were standing in the roadways and painting neon orange dots on the trees near our homes. One of my neighbors was curious and asked them why they were surveying.
“It’s for a school,” she was told.
This is how my neighbors and I found out about Montgomery County’s proposal to build an elementary holding school at the corner of Waring Station and Summer Oak Drive, directly across from Roberto Clemente Middle School. There is no stop light at this location. Despite a traffic cop working this intersection faithfully every morning and afternoon, a student was hit by a car in front of Roberto Clemente earlier this year.
The property in question is ecologically and functionally a part of Seneca Creek State Park. Wildlife and migratory birds use this land as part of their habitat. The animals don’t care if the land is owned by the state park or the county. The county’s proposal to build a holding school at this location will likely clear cut this entire portion of forest.
And just what is a holding school anyway? A holding school is not a neighborhood school. A holding school is a temporary school for any other public school student population in the upcounty to use while their school is being repaired. So, logically, this holding school – which is currently planned for the elementary school population – will need to accommodate the largest elementary school student body in Germantown. It will be a large facility.
To date, the Montgomery County government has placed no effort on educating and informing the residents of Woodlake and the surrounding community about their efforts to build this school. Today, a $45,000 feasibility study was authorized by the Board of Education during a meeting that allowed for no public comment. A number of residents called the school board and wrote letters in protest of the impending decision. Several residents sent a formal request to the school board asking for a stay of the decision until the issue could be presented at a meeting with public comment. This request was denied. Six of us attended the meeting. We were not allowed to speak or present our views. This blog will change that.