I submitted the following letter today to members of the Montgomery County Council and Board of Education. The Lyttonsville Sector Plan hearing is tonight (September 27) at 7:30 in the County Council auditorium.
The Lyttonsville Sector Plan is relevant to current and future residents of the Bethesda downtown area because our communities are both part of the B-CC public school cluster. My letter brings attention to a letter submitted by Board of Education president, Michael Durso.
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Honorable County Councilmembers,
I am writing as the founder of the Coalition of Bethesda Areas Residents (CBAR). I want to bring to your attention the cumulative negative impact of the Lyttonsville and Bethesda Downtown sector plans on our public schools.
I reference only one document: the March 24, 2016 letter from Montgomery County Board of Education president, Michael Durso.
In it, Mr. Durso warns the Council and the Planning Board that the combined sector plans will increase school population, mostly in the B-CC cluster, as follows:
- Elementary school students: 550
- Middle school students: 230
- High school students: 300
He says that the middle school student population can be accommodated by an expansion to Middle School #2, which isn’t even built yet. But we have no practical solutions for our elementary and high school students in either plan.
Our Board of Education president describes the poor choices that will be forced upon us. Both the Lyttonsville and Bethesda Downtown plans recognize these poor choices, yet neither offer any real planning to serve the educational needs of our elementary and high school students.
As the Lyttonsville Plan affects the residents in and near downtown Bethesda, as a Bethesda area advocate, I urge you to RETURN it to the Planning Board with the following guidance:
- Work with the Board of Education to identify properties within the B-CC and Einstein clusters that are safe and suitable for schools, just as is done for identifying potential park space
- Obtain an endorsement from the Board of Education that shares responsibility for a revised plan, and that assures that the needs of future public school students are well understood, are prioritized, and will be met in coordination with new development
The public is looking to you individually and as a governing body for your leadership. Please demonstrate your commitment to our children and the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance so we can build a better, brighter future for everyone in Montgomery County.
Mary M. Flynn
Founder, Coalition of Bethesda Area Residents