Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Rubin ruled in favor of the school system, which wants to build a second middle school at Rock Creek Hills Local Park (3701 Saul Rd.) to accomodate overcrowding at Westland Middle School the planned reassignment of Grade 6 students from Chevy Chase and North Chevy Chase Elementary Schools.
Members of the Save The Rock Creek Hills Park group and the surrounding Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association have sought to block the school and maintain the 13.4-acre park that the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) acquired from the Board of Education in 1990.
School opponents argued that the use of Program Open Space funds to improve the park was inconsistent with the reclamation terms of the transfer agreement under which the M-NCPPC took title to the property. The Planning Board also recommended against placing the school on the site of the park.
Rubin issued a declaratory judgment, stating ”neither the deed or the transfer agreement violated federal or state law. No statute has been violated.”
“This suit always struck me as incredibly frivolous,” said Rafe Petersen, a PTA Board member of Rosemary Hills Primary School with three kids in the school cluster. Petersen was also part of the original site selection committee. “A lot of us think it’s a little bit selfish of the people in that neighborhood. This after all is public land.”
MCPS is planning for the middle school to open in August 2017.
“This is really about our kids and any other further delays are only going to harm our children,” said Fritz Hirst, a cluster parent and another member of the site selection committee. “But I think all people of goodwill should realize that this school should move forward.”
Jim Pekar, a leading advocate against the school, could not be reached for comment this afternoon.