photo of rally by SaveBlairEwing group at Council Office Building

MCPS Search Finds Blair Ewing or English Manor Sites as Options for Alternative Education Program

photo of rally by SaveBlairEwing group at Council Office Building

FILE PHOTO | Protesters say English Manor School is not best fit for MCPS Alternative Education Program.

Both the Blair G. Ewing Center and the former English Manor Elementary School site are the two locations proposed to be evaluated for the county school system’s Alternative Education Program.

The Montgomery County Board of Education is expected to vote on a proposal by Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers Tuesday that suggests that feasibility studies should be conducted on those two sites. The school board had wanted to move forward with a relocation of the program to the English Manor School on Bestor Drive in Rockville but the Montgomery County Council’s Education Committee requested the school board consider a move that would renovate the current Blair site or take a look at the entire county for a second optional location for the program.

The proposal to be discussed Tuesday brings the discussion back to the Blair site and the previously proposed English Manor property.

According to a memo from Bowers to the school board, potential sites were evaluated by staff in the Richard Montgomery and Rockville clusters as well as in the northern portion of the Walter Johnson and Wheaton clusters. Bowers said criteria used to evaluate the sites included location and size, availability of property and public transportation.

The architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht, Inc. of Baltimore is recommended as the firm to handle both studies for a fee of $56,000, according to a second Bowers memo.

Opponents of the proposal to move the Alternative Education program out of the Blair Ewing site and into English Manor have planned a rally at the English Manor school from 6-7 p.m.  tonight.

“The community is overwhelmingly opposed to MCPS’s plans and hopes to see English Manor reopened as a neighborhood elementary school to address school overcrowding in Aspen Hill,” Jamison Adcock wrote in an email to MyMCMedia. Adcock is one of the organizers of the SaveBlairEwing effort.

MCPS’ initial proposal was to take the AEP from the Ewing property and renovate the English Manor building- to the tune of about $16 million- to accommodate the programming. English Manor is currently leased as a independent grades 4-12 school called School for Tomorrow. It sits on an 8-acre site, as opposed to the more than 20-acre property where the Ewing school is located. Not dependent on the move of the AEP but certainly linked would be the MCPS proposal to relocate the school system’s bus depot from Crabbs Branch Way to the Ewing site. The school system is required by the county to vacate the Crabbs Branch location by 2017.

Those against the proposal to move the AEP programming to English Manor cite issues of traffic on Avery Road should a bus depot be located there and they said they were against the county demolishing a school when the school system was overcrowded.

The school board is expected to vote on the two feasibility studies at its meeting scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.

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Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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