In the past month, several countywide education issues have developed and may potentially affect MCPS students. Such topics include the potential expansion of free bus services for students, rallies for education funding, controversial names at MCPS schools, and Poolesville High School’s new proposal for a new community and Health Service Center.
Montgomery County Council is considering expanding free Ride On bus services for students on weekends as well as weekdays. However, the additional hours on weekends would result in a $1 million a year. Council member Evan Glass, elected to the council in November, stated, “What we know is transportation is the biggest factor in determining an individual’s financial health. Students need access to jobs and to be able to safely commute throughout our region. And providing them with free opportunities will expand their economic capacity.” Students took a poll about the expansion of Ride Ons and 45 percent of those surveyed said that they would likely use the Ride On in the proposed additional times. As Council member, Glass has asked the County Executive to include all additional funding in his budget.
Additionally, a rally took place March 11 in order to advocate for school funding. Bethesda Magazine cited State Department of Education statistics that say Maryland schools are annually underfunded by $2.9 billion. The rally took place at the state capital, involving more than 8,500 activists including teachers and students. The crowd urging legislators to increase public school funding carried signs and advocated for increased funding.
Furthermore, a proposal for a new high school as well as a community Health Service Center was issued by Poolesville residents. After nearly a year of persistent advocacy calling for equal access to services, Poolesville residents have been able to draft a list of ideas and requests to bring together opportunities and equal access just like the services in upper Montgomery County. The cost estimate is still unknown but the draft has an abundance of explanations for why Poolesville students and residents need such facilities.
Link Hoewing, a Poolesville Town Commission member, stated to Bethesda Magazine, “Residents often travel about 20 minutes to Germantown for basic medical care. The closest county police station is in Germantown, creating safety concerns should an emergency arise, Hoewing said.”
While a Poolesville school proposal is in the works, the school board is also in the midst of determining a name for the new Clarksburg School. The new Clarksburg Village Site No.2 is a $32 million school opening up in the fall to fill 741 students. At a meeting this list of names for the new school were listed: Ida B. Wells Elementary School, Clarksburg Village Elementary School, Harriet R. Tubman Elementary School and Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School. All these names will be taken into consideration as they are sent to the school’s principal, Yolanda Allen. The name will be picked with first narrowing down to two choices then voting for a final decision.
Stay tuned for the recent updates of Montgomery County’s issues and proposals. The county is constantly working to implement more resources and opportunities for the student body, teachers and families by taking into consideration the resources and services the county needs.