Public to get first look at Montgomery County boundary study

Montgomery County’s Board of Education will hear from the consultants it hired to do a districtwide analysis of school boundaries.

The school board will hold its first hearing on the work that the consultants at WXY have done on the first phase of the project on Monday, Nov. 18.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said that the study is just that: an analysis of existing boundaries.

“This is not a recommendation to change boundaries, rather an analysis of how we’re using boundaries,” Onijala said.

The study is looking at school capacity, how boundary lines are currently drawn, crowding issues and demographics.

Capacity is a particular issue for the school system, which has grown by 30,000 students over the past 20 years, according to data from MCPS.

“We can’t build the schools fast enough, basically. This year alone, we added more than 2,700 students,” Onijala said.

After the Nov. 18 meeting, Onijala said there will be a series of public hearings on the analysis, with more opportunities for public input.

“We have a series of forums starting in early December, going all through January,” she said.

The prospect of boundary changes can rattle parents who may buy a home in a particular neighborhood based on the schools their children would attend under boundaries as drawn.

“There have been no recommendations to change boundaries … I think there’s a lot of misinformation that’s been spread in the community,” Onijala said.

She encouraged parents and members of the community to attend the hearings and meetings.

The districtwide boundary study is different from the current study involving school reassignments in the Clarksburg, Northwest and Seneca Valley high school clusters.

The county board of education is encouraging people to sign up online to speak at the Nov. 18 hearing.

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