2/15/2012 EBCA General Membership Meeting Notes

Members present: 45
Call to order: 7:11pm

I)  MCPS Bruce Crispell – Director of Long Range Planning.
1)  Reviewed phase-in of boundary changes and gave a recap of the new assignment for B-5 and B-6 for 2013. See EBCA.org for more details.
2)  He explained that MCPS likes to phase in changes so that students can stay in their current school until they finish.
3)  Changes will start in 2014-15 school year when EB kids go to BE at K.
4)  Things have been cleaned up and simplified and it’s just gong to take time to phase in.
5)  He shared a bit of recent info:

a. McKeeny Hills Elem in SS is reopening. That will lower numbers at RHPS, we think.

b. The choice option for EB 3rd graders (between NCC, BE, and CC) will be in place through 2013 – 2014 school year.

c. Transportation will be provided until those students complete their elementary schooling.

Question and Answer period:

6) What about a family with kids one year apart – the oldest in 1st grade now. Could they request a transfer to BE from RHPS?
COSA (change of school assignment) is restricted when boundary changes will be implemented, except for hardship.

7) Could my child start early at BE, instead of going to RHPS for one year?
No, there is no space. The change of boundary process is too complicated.

8) But all the schools are overcrowded, so what is the difference?
Transfers are restricted while boundary changes are being implemented.

9)   Monica Hayes reported about students who will be at RHPS for one year of K and then go to BE in 1st. She contacted the community superintendent, Denise Green. She talked to the principals at RHPS and BE and they will try to honor placement requests so that kids transferring from RHPS can be placed together in classes. Rebecca Fayed has a sign up sheet for these families so that all can get to know each other and request peer groups.

10)  One member pointed out the language of this issue: that both 2nd graders are “allowed” to stay at RHPS and 5th graders “allowed” to stay at BE – do families have the right to turn down this allowance?
No, it’s an assignment – “allow” is the wrong word to use. The only way out is to make a request, but sibling requests are negated during boundary changes. That is the way that MCPS has managed these changes and that’s the way it is.

11)   Monica points out that we will ask the Board of Education for this flexibility even though Crispell says it’s an uphill climb.

12)   Middle School question – Will BE students all go to one MS?
Way too early to know that. We avoid split articulation so they’ll figure it out when the time comes.  

13) Will all NCC children be allowed to proceed to new MS if BE is assigned to Westland?
No, there will be a geographic assignment that will determine where kids go.

14) Do you have any idea where BE and NCC will be assigned to MS?
We have no idea yet. Your safest bet is to go with BE assignment if you would like your children to stay with the same cohort from elementary through MS.

15)   New MS – when is it going to open?
In the capital budget – Aug 2017 – everyone wants to keep that schedule.

16)   A member urges us to consider BE because of all the community benefits and that the neighborhood children all know each other. And if you have a child already in BE in older grades, then you may apply to get a sibling transfer.

17)   What is considered a hardship?
You can get brochure at school. Daycare and conflicting work schedules are not considered hardships. Documentation must accompany all requests. It often has to do with the child not being successful in other school. It does not include siblings or that you just prefer it.  

18)   Do you have a sense for the numbers of kids that will now be going to BE from EB?
25-30 each year.

19)   MS question – kids who start at Westland will stay at Westland until they finish.

20)   Monica has copies of Crispell’s latest letter. It will be posted on EBCA.org.

21)   Are you anticipating needing a new elementary school?
Perhaps. In next 6 years, we don’t see it. There are plans for many additions and modernizations to existing schools which will add a lot of capacity. But Lynnbrook is a back up site.

22)   Will BE kids go to holding school when construction goes on at BE?

23)   To build a MS you need 10 acres  -- many sites have been eliminated. Advisory committee does not make the decision. Two viable sites remain– Rock Creek Hills and NCC Park. And a few private sites that they have not made public.

24)   Why the over-enrollment in this cluster?
There has been a huge enrollment surge for many reasons. Economics, full day K, building, births, etc. Increased by 800 kids in elementary schools in recent years.

27)   Will this all lead to a new HS?
No – but there will be a feasibility study for an addition at BCC.

28)   Would they consider coordinating bus schedules to accommodate the differing schedules of BE and RHPS? Perhaps. Contact the transportation manager and school Principal to see if that’s possible.

29)   When will the boundaries for the new MS be decided?
Spring of 2016 – a committee will be formed to figure out boundaries for new MS. Superintendent makes a recommendation to the BOE in Nov 2016. The decision is made a year before the school opens.

II) Member, Nancy Juda : Traffic issues on streets around Lynnbrook Park - would like to petition the county to add speed bumps.

1)  A member responds: We tried it 10 years ago and the Fire Dept shot it down. If it goes through, we should relook at those other places.

2) Jeff Dunkel, a neighbor came forth who works for DOT –

a) There is a history with speed humps from the early 90’s that caused controversy. DOT is supportive of humps. But the process is well-defined. You need to have 80% of folks on the street and then 50% of affected streets to sign a petition.

b) EBCA will make first request, then community needs to get signatures. You also need to have 100 cars per hour during times of concern.

c) Need better enforcement and traffic calming. DOT toolbox to “fix” issues: chokers, roundabouts, pedestrian islands, etc. We can have them come to advise on these stretches of street. There a good examples of the toolbox on Leland and on Battery.

d) First thing to do – count traffic and record speeds.

e) A member points out that if we know that the issue is with BCC students speeding on their way to school, then can we connect with BCC to figure out ways to remind BCC students about this issue? Yes.

f) Another member asks about about technology?

Do a cost-benefit analysis, since they only install speed traps in high volume areas. Unlikely here.

g) A member mentions that parking could be changed to park use only. Mr Dunkel pointed out that parked cars are actually a speed deterrent.

h) The speeds seem really fast – even 25 mph. Enforcement won’t be cost effective. Be open to mitigation, education and traffic calming.

3) Motion made to apply for a study to ask if speed humps or other traffic calming devices. 8100 block of Kentbury and 8000 block of Newdale. Vote taken: 24 vote yes. 1 no.

4) Chelton and Sleaford also deserve to have the study. Motion and seconded. Vote: 26 yes. None opposed.

5)  Pearl St as well: Motion and seconded. Vote: 26 yes. None opposed.

III) EBCA position on Lynnbrook site for new MS – Jack Hayes

Jack Hayes provided a summary of the middle school site selection committee process and evaluation criteria.  He encouraged people again to review the MCPS real estate site regarding the evaluation of Lynnbrook Park as the site for the new middle school.

A motion was made and seconded that Lynnbrook Park is not an appropriate site for the new middle school. 23 people voted in favor of the motion; 2 people opposed the motion.

Reasons for why people think Lynnbrook Park is not an appropriate site for the new middle school were discussed.  

A motion was made and seconded that the following factors be included in the EBCA position paper regarding why EBCA does not think that Lynnbrook Park is an appropriate site for the new middle school:
  1. The lot size is smaller than the minimum lot size required for the new middle school.
  2. There are a number of topographical issues related to the lot.
  3. The narrow street of our neighborhood limit would limit access.
  4. Demolition costs will be increased due to the existing building(s) on the lot.
  5. Because of one of the buildings historical status, the cost of demolition could be increased.

25 people voted in favor of the motion to include these factors in the EBCA position paper regarding the new middle school; 0 opposed the motion.

A motion was made and seconded to include the following additional factor in EBCA’s position paper regarding the new middle school:  The new middle school would increase traffic in a middle school that already houses a high school.  18 people voted in favor of the motion; 4 opposed the motion.

A motion was made and seconded to include in EBCA’s position paper regarding the new middle school other things EBCA thinks MCPS should know about the site, including, for example, that BCC uses the fields and that there is an existing day care and before / after school program.  15 people voted in favor of the motion; 0 opposed the motion.

For new business, Rebecca Fayed noted that the Executive Committee was considering modifying the bylaws to change the membership year from a fiscal year to a calendar year.  She noted that we would raise it for a vote at another meeting.  There was a general sentiment in support of such a change and no opposition raised.

Committee updates were provided.  For the safety committee, Kevin asked people to sign up for a safety committee workgroup.  He also noted that we still need someone to volunteer as the social committee chair.  On behalf of the Parks Committee, Ophar reminded people that we would have another park clean up day on Earth Day (April 22) from 2 – 4 pm at Cheltenham Park.  He encouraged families to sign up to volunteer. 

On behalf of the newsletter committee, Kristen Mosbaek asked if anyone could volunteer to help with newsletter advertisements.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm.