Yesterday, in addressing the closing of the RECC program at Ducketts Lane, I wrote:
I know that I have friends who know much more about this topic than I do. Chime in, please. Tell me why this happened.
Blogger Bill Santos, of Columbia Compass, was exactly the sort of person I was thinking of when I made this request. It wasn't long before I heard from him. Here goes:
You need to get up to speed on several documents that are available and periodically updated. The first is the HCPSS feasibility study, published every year in June. Here is the link to the 2014 study:
You also need to get up to speed on APFO (Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) and the DPZ Development Monitoring Report. Both can be found on the DPZ site under publications.
You also need to understand that most of school construction is done using state money, and with all state funding, there are criteria for obtaining the funding.
You should also do a search for Oxford Square Elementary School. This proposed school site is geographically adjacent to Ducketts Lane Elementary School, (and proposed to be right next to Thomas Viaduct Middle School) although the road network is problematic (in my view).
Later, on Facebook, he added: The more I read up on this, the more it seems that the disconnect is at the State level. The State Public School Construction Program allocates funding for school construction. This program is overseen by the Inter Agency Commission, and is comprised of MD Dept of Ed Facilities Branch, the Public Works Commission, and designees appointed by the State Legislature. Lots of rules from these folks. Including the fact that the State Department of Planning provides the enrollment numbers, and "Projects for additional capacity may not be recommended for planning approval or funding where adequate capacity is available at adjacent schools." Much of the County APFO, redistricting, and other activities seem to be looking at the regs that govern the State Public School Construction Program.
So there's a start. It's great to have friends who are so plugged in to this kind of knowledge.
I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that Mr. Santos thought that I should have done all of this research before I wrote about what is happening at Ducketts Lane. And, truth be told, if he had written the post, he would have. But I wrote to start a conversation, not merely to dispense information. I have found that my readers are the type who are willing to do their own research once you point them in the right direction, and want to take part in an intelligent conversation.
Let's keep it going.