November 11, 2013
Superintendent Joshua P. Starr is recommending a $1.55 billion Capital Improvements Program (CIP) for MCPS that, over the next six years, would add hundreds of elementary school classrooms and ease overcrowding caused by years of dramatic enrollment growth.
Dr. Starr’s CIP recommendations places a priority on increasing the number of classrooms and upgrading the district’s aging infrastructure, including Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Dr. Starr’s CIP also keeps many previously approved construction projects on schedule.
MCPS enrollment has increased by about 14,000 students over the past six years, and the majority of that growth, nearly 90 percent, has taken place in elementary schools. Over the next six years, MCPS enrollment is expected to grow by an additional 11,000 students. In that time, MCPS enrollment has increased more than any district in the state of Maryland.
“This CIP will begin to address the dramatic space needs of our district and provide some relief to our elementary schools, which are bursting at the seams,” Dr. Starr said. “However, we will need to make additional investments in the future if we are going to provide 21st century learning facilities for the students who are here today and those who are coming in the future.”
Dr. Starr’s $1.55 billion recommended CIP represents a $183.9 million increase over the current CIP (FY 2013-2018), but is far less than the district’s actual need. It would require a $2.2 billion CIP to meet all of the district’s pressing facility, infrastructure, and technology needs.
On Thursday, Oct. 31, Dr. Starr and Board of Education President Christopher Barclay joined Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, County Council President Nancy Navarro and many other state, local and county officials to urge the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Martin O’Malley to increase school construction funding for MCPS.
A new six-year CIP is approved every two years and includes investments in four general categories—capacity projects, such as new schools and classroom additions; revitalization/expansion projects that upgrade and expand existing schools; infrastructure improvements; and technology.
The Montgomery County Board of Education will review Dr. Starr’s recommendation and is expected to approve a CIP request on Monday, Nov. 18. That request will then be submitted to the County Executive and County Council for consideration. The Board will hold the last public hearing on the CIP request on Thursday, Nov. 14, where you will have the opportunity to share your opinion. More information can be found on the Board’s public participation website.