Note: Kimberly and I have two children – Josh (13) and Paige (10)- who are slated to attend Wootton High School (Josh in 2018 and Paige in 2021). It would be intellectually dishonest not to admit that I have a profound vested interest in seeing that Wootton High School’s aging infrastructure is addressed and upgraded, as originally scheduled.
Wootton cluster parents are rallying at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, November 8, at the Montgomery County Public Schools Carver Educational Services Center Auditorium (850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville) to encourage Montgomery County Public Schools to support renovating Wootton High School.
The Montgomery County Public Schools FY 2017 Educational Facilities Master Plan (the Capital Improvements Plan) included a capital project for Wootton – a revitalization/expansion project that was slated to be completed by August 2021.
According to the plan, “an FY 2016 appropriation was approved for planning funds to begin the architectural design for the revitalization/expansion project” for the high school.
Wootton’s originally-scheduled upgrades may now be delayed.
MCPS is changing the CIP process to address the urgent needs of certain buildings, instead of complete remodels. The school system hopes to work on several projects at once while reevaluating needs annually.
Wootton High School has not been removed from the list of schools that will be upgraded. Rather, Wootton’s renovations and improvements may be placed on hold until MCPS updates its policies.
Bottom line: Montgomery County Public Schools is starting from scratch.
And the Wootton parent cluster is sending a message to Montgomery County Public Schools: Keep on schedule and upgrade our high school!
When reached for comment about the review process, Montgomery County Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse told A Miner Detail:
The Board of Education will continue to assess what the facility needs are and will work to identify and address those needs, and positively impact the building. But the idea of automatically replacing buildings is unsustainable with the amount of funding MCPS receives versus the huge amount of need we have, and this will likely change as we work through the policy.
Also, MCPS has to prioritize, as we see with the CIP projects. So many schools have been delayed year after year; it was clear that the process was not working, as our population skyrocketed. We need a process to get more bang for our buck and to be able to address more needs at once, better monitor and keep up with needs districtwide, and get more nimble to respond in a more timely way.