Montgomery County Public Schools has added 11,000 students in the past 10 years, but has never taken a comprehensive look at enrollment growth and school capacity. That’s why, for the first time in decades, MCPS is conducting a countywide school boundary analysis.
The Board of Education has hired a consulting firm, WXY, to look at the way MCPS draws school boundaries, collect community feedback, and provide insights on how the school system could improve its boundary-drawing process. This analysis will provide an independent, data-driven look at some of the big issues affecting MCPS, such as:
How efficiently we’re using our school buildings. This year, 10,000 students attend classes in portables, while there are nearly 10,000 empty seats across the system. MCPS spends millions of dollars on new schools or additions when nearby schools have space.
How to reduce de facto segregation. Today, Black and Latino students, and students from low-income backgrounds are clustered in a handful of schools, which contributes to both opportunity and achievement gaps. MCPS has invested considerable resources to help students from all backgrounds succeed wherever they are, but studies show that students of all backgrounds perform best in diverse schools.
How far students are traveling to school. As Montgomery County has grown, school boundaries haven’t caught up. As a result, more than a third of students aren’t attending the school closest to their home (not counting those in magnet or choice programs), which means more time and money spent traveling to and from school.
A group opposing the analysis has spread rumors that it will redraw school boundaries or bus students long distances. Neither is true. This analysis will not change school boundaries or even recommend any specific boundary changes.
If you agree that data-informed policy, equitable public education, and fiscal responsibility matter, here are five things you can do:
Visit onemontgomery.wordpress.com, for more information and updates.
Join over 500 people who have signed our letter to Board of Education President Shebra Evans and Superintendent Jack Smith in support of the boundary analysis. (Click here for the sign-on letter)
Come to a meeting on the boundary analysis this winter, where you can learn about it and give your feedback:
January 7, Walter Johnson High School, 7-9pm (cancelled due to weather, will be rescheduled)
January 11, Montgomery Blair High School, 10am-12pm
January 14, Northwest High School, 7-9pm
January 23, Walter Johnson High School, 7-9pm (rescheduled from Jan 7 cancellation)
Come hear the Board of Education discuss the analysis at their next meeting, January 9 from 11am to 1pm at the MCPS central office, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Turnout is especially important here, particularly for those who have already been to boundary analysis meetings.
Share this with your friends, neighbors, PTSA, or anyone else who may be interested. Remember, strong schools benefit everyone, even those who don’t have kids in public schools!