MCCPTA Hopes to ‘Show Numbers’ During Bus Trip to Annapolis
The Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations is preparing for their second trip to Annapolis this year, but this trip will be a little different — they’re hoping to show their numbers to lawmakers in Annapolis and demonstrate what they say is a dire need for school construction funding in Montgomery County.
“Our hope for this trip is to mobilize the PTA members, parents, staff, community members, and students of Montgomery County to show that the needs of Montgomery County Public Schools are pressing, urgent, and real to lawmakers from across the Free State,” said MCCPTA President Janette Gilman. “We have nearly 50,000 PTA members in our county, and currently make up more than one-third of the PTA members in the State of Maryland and we speak in one voice. ”
During their last trip on Jan. 10, a group of around two dozen MCCPTA members and parents traveled to Annapolis to meet with members of the Montgomery County Delegation during an ice storm that delayed the opening of County schools, which Gilman said hampered attendance on the rally.
For their next trip on March 6, buses will depart from five locations in the evening during after school hours in order to mobilize the community.
“We want the Governor and legislators in Annapolis to see us in number and to understand that this county—with total FARMS enrollment greater than the total student enrollment in 18 Maryland school districts—needs the state’s financial support,” Gilman said. “This is not your mother’s Montgomery County; this is a thriving, urban-rural-suburban hub that is driving student achievement and economic opportunity.”
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Nancy Navarro, and members of the Montgomery County Board of Education are expected to make the trip. The MCCPTA hopes to meet with Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Senate President Mike Miller and Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch.
Members of the Montgomery County Delegation have been strong supporters of the funding, agreeing with the MCCPTA that there is in fact a need for renovations and more space in County public schools.
“Montgomery County has experienced a surge of enrollment over the last decade and we haven’t had the resources to keep up with the needs,” said Del. Heather Mizeur (D-District 20). “We have mold, we have rodents, we have a range of issues that have to be addressed in our schools to give our children who are the nation’s number one students the number one schools that they deserve to be learning in.”
But not everyone’s in agreement. Senate President Mike Miller says thinks the $750 million that the MCCPTA is asking for may be unrealistic.
“Montgomery County is a fabulous fabulous, fabulous county, and we’re going to help find a way to alleviate the situation, but we’re kind of up against it with revenues right now,” he said.
But Gilman said they are going to keep the pressure going.
“Our enrollment growth, real and projected, between 2007 and 2019 is 25,000, more than the total enrollment in 14 Maryland school districts combined,” Gilman said. “We hope they will find a way to add funding to the budget during this session. We do not have classrooms and space for our students now, and the situation in the out years will be dire unless construction starts now. We also want to empower our membership. We can make a difference and we together we will.”
The Maryland General Assembly is expected to take up the issue in March.
Buses are scheduled to depart from the Carver Educational Services Center, Poolesville High School, Seneca Valley High School and Walt Whitman High School at 4:30 p.m. and Montgomery Blair High School at 4:45 p.m.
Find more information on the bus trip and how to register through the MCCPTA website here.