WE NEED TO FIGHT TO MODERNIZE SENECA VALLEY

(Letter from CIP Co-Chair)

All:

As I suspected, the Council is supportive of the $14 million increase in the CIP sought by the Board of Education. However, there is a potential problem for those in the modernization queue, as noted below.

The Ed Committee will meet on Monday to review the CIP amendments (last Monday the Ed Committee reviewed the Operating Budget request). Here are the highlights of the council staff’s memorandum:

HVAC and PLAR: “Council staff agrees with the Board that both the HV AC and PLAR projects are high need systemic areas. However, if there are insufficient FY14 funds to increase the level of effort as the Board has requested, Council staff supports maintaining the already approved level of effort for FY14.”

Planning funds: “Council staff recommends adding $220,000 to FY14 to fund the Board’s requested increase for facility planning, to keep projects moving forward in a timely manner.”

The memo also contains this statement regarding the hearings this week: “During the Council’s public hearings on the budget, several speakers testified to the importance of increased funding in these systemic projects.” THANKS, all who testified on CIP this week. I wasn’t able to attend in person, but I was there in spirit.

Modernizations. But, there is a significant word of caution, particularly for those in the modernization queue. The CE’s recommendation included a $20 million reduction in the out years of the CIP. The Council staff notes that this reduction could be met by (1) delaying the MS mods (beginning with Farquhar) or (2) delaying either Wheaton or Seneca Valley HS mods by 1 year. Neither of these mods is recommended, but they were put out there on the table. Instead, the staff recommends using different assumptions for the School Impact Tax to reach the CE’s reduction.

For those affected by a potential modernization delay, I would recommend you send a quick email to the three Ed committee members. It should say that you oppose delaying any modernizations to meet the County Executive’s proposed reduction in GO Bonds for FY 15-18 and that you support finding these funds from the School Impact Tax or other sources. Do this before Monday morning. The email addresses are:

Councilmember.ervin@montgomerycountymd.gov

Councilmember.andrews@montgomerycountymd.gov

Councilmember.rice@montgomerycountymd.gov

The full memo is available here:

FULL MEMO

Steve Augustino
Co-Chair, CIP Committee

Here is a sample email that you can send to County Council Members:

Dear Council Member,

I respectfully submit my support of Seneca Valley High School remaining on the current schedule for modernization. The current building is in a state that is unfit for learning. The students deserve physical space that allows them to participate in an enriching 21st century academic environment. The building is original to its 1975 construction and is in a significant state of disrepair such as leaking roofs and water unfit for human consumption through fountains. The modernization has been delayed several times allowing the situation to go from bad to worse. It is completely unacceptable for our children to continue entering this building.

It is also important to understand that a newly built SVHS will attract more residents to our area thereby increasing property values.

Please ensure that this project continues as currently expected.

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