FY 2020 Capital Budget and CIP Amendments Released
MCPS Superintendent Jack R. Smith is requesting minor adjustments to the adopted Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-2024 Capital Improvements Program to address enrollment growth, school security, and access to college and career readiness programs.
The $1.815 billion recommendation is an increase of $37.6 million more than the approved six-year CIP. The amended CIP includes a recommended FY 2020 expenditure of $324.33 million, an increase of $15.97 million more than the approved FY 2020 expenditure of $308.36 million.
“MCPS must continue to address building capacity, aging infrastructure and facility security to ensure students have a safe and welcoming place to learn,” stated Smith. “We must also take steps to expand access to college and career readiness programs for students in all corners of the county. I believe this request accomplishes these core responsibilities in a fiscally responsible way.”
Managing Enrollment Growth
Preliminary enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year is 163,123, an increase of 1,577 students from the 2017-2018 school year. Since the 2009-2010 school year, MCPS enrollment has increased by 21,346 students. MCPS enrollment by the 2024-2025 school year is projected to increase by 11,199 students to reach 174,322 students.
To address this growth, the CIP includes amendments to begin the planning for additions at Highland View, Lake Seneca and Thurgood Marshall elementary schools. These projects are in addition to those identified in the Capital Improvements Program.
Strengthening School Security
The safety of all students and staff remains a top priority for MCPS. To strengthen the ability to keep schools secure, Superintendent Smith recommended $28 million in additional funds to address technology upgrades to various existing security systems, as well as to provide secure entrance vestibules and guided building access for schools that currently do not have these features.
Expanding Access to Career-Ready Programs
MCPS is committed to providing students with access to career readiness programs regardless of where they live in the county. Thomas Edison High School of Technology, located in Silver Spring, currently serves as the only hub for the county and can be a burden for upcounty students to reach. To provide greater access to career programs upcounty, Superintendent Smith is recommending additional funding for the Seneca Valley High School revitalization/expansion project that would allow the facility to serve as an upcounty hub for career programs.
Additional recommendations include funding for:
- A higher base level of field maintenance for both artificial turf and natural grass high school athletic fields. This additional, ongoing funding will allow the district to implement a standard program of high school athletic field maintenance, and for schools to achieve a more consistent level of field quality.
- The Facility Planning project to continue work with external consultants to support the district’s transition through its new enrollment projection methodology, as well as the ability to look beyond the six-year CIP to develop strategic long-range growth management plans for all clusters.
In addition, the recommendation identifies the removal of the East Silver Spring Elementary School Addition project, previously approved to address capacity for students from Rolling Terrace Elementary School. With the relocation of the Spanish Immersion Program from Rolling Terrace to William Tyler Page Elementary School, this addition is no longer necessary. This relocation allows enrollment projection for Rolling Terrace to fall within its capacity during the six-year CIP.
Boundary Recommendation for New Clarksburg Elementary School
Superintendent Smith has recommended boundaries for the new elementary school in Clarksburg (Clarksburg Village Site #2 Elementary School) that is scheduled to open in September of 2019. The recommendation reassigns students from Wilson Wims and Cedar Grove elementary schools, both of which are currently over program capacity.
Update on the Key Facility Indicators (KFI) and Major Capital Projects
The recommendation also includes a supplement that provides information on the Key Facility Indicators’ assessment process, initial findings, and the first group of schools to be identified as part of the Major Capital Projects.
Non-Capital Projects Recommendations
In addition to the capital recommendations, Superintendent Smith made three non-capital recommendations as part of the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2020
Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2019-2024 Capital Improvements Program. These recommendations are:
- Expand the scope of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase elementary school capacity study to include the elementary schools in the Walter Johnson cluster. This will provide an opportunity to explore capacity solutions with an adjacent cluster, build on the work of the Walter Johnson Elementary School Site Selection Committee, and evaluate enrollment needs of the larger area together.
- Expand the scope of the Seneca Valley High School boundary study to include all of the middle schools in the Clarksburg and Northwest clusters, in addition to the middle schools in the Seneca Valley cluster. This would be done to minimize split articulations among the three clusters. The boundary study will begin in late fall/early winter 2018, with Board action scheduled for November 2019.
- A boundary study for Forest Knolls, Montgomery Knolls and Pine Crest elementary schools to relieve the overutilization at Forest Knolls. The scope of the boundary study also will include Eastern and Silver Spring International middle schools to evaluate the middle school articulation patterns for these three elementary schools. The boundary study will occur in spring 2019, with Board of Education action scheduled for November 2019.
Update on Northwood High School and the reopening of Charles W. Woodward High School
The adopted FY 2019-2024 CIP includes funding for two major projects at the high school level in the downcounty area—the reopening of Charles W. Woodward High School and the addition and facility upgrade project at Northwood High School. MCPS is continuing to analyze how to stage these two significant construction efforts to best alleviate the overcrowding across the downcounty clusters and improve the student experience. Staff evaluated possible sequencing options based on the costs for each, impact to students, impact on the building design, and the timeline of the project. This evaluation was presented to the Board of Education for consideration and action.
Every two years, the county approves a six-year Capital Improvements Program, which includes school construction and infrastructure projects. In off years, such as FY 2020, only amendments to the adopted CIP are considered.
The Board of Education will consider Dr. Smith’s amendments and recommendations at work sessions on Nov. 1 and 15. The Board will hold public hearings on the CIP amendments and recommendations on Nov. 8 and 12. An additional public hearing will be scheduled for Nov.19, if alternatives are offered at the Nov. 15 work session. All hearings will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Dr. in Rockville. The Board will approve a CIP amendment request on Nov. 27. The request will then be submitted to the Montgomery County Executive and the Montgomery County Council for consideration. For more information on the hearings and to sign up to speak, visit the Board of Education website.
The County Executive will issue his recommended FY 2019-2024 CIP amendments for all county agencies by mid-January for Council discussion and action. The Council will hold a hearing in early February and will conduct work sessions in March and April, before adopting an approved FY 2020 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2019-2024 CIP by the end of May.