MCPS Expands Interactive Countywide Boundary Analysis Tool

School Board Spends $276,000 to Improve Boundary Analysis Data Tool

The Montgomery County School Board on Tuesday authorized the school district to spend $276,800 to “expand and improve” an interactive tool created as part of a controversial county boundary analysis.

The contract was awarded to WXY Architecture + Urban Design, the New York-based architectural firm performing the boundary analysis. WXY created the “Interactive Boundary Explorer” as part of the analysis.

But in an email this week, and at a school board meeting this week, MCPS spokespersons said the new spending is separate from the boundary review.

It is intended to “build” the tool into a comprehensive online data dashboard on each of its 208 schools.

Now, the tool includes information on student enrollment, capacity, limitations and demographics in schools.

According to a spokesperson, when the new project is complete, it will include:

• Schools at a glance
• School safety at a glance
• Key installation indicators
• Special education at a glance
• School energy consumption
• Information on school recycling
• Class size information

Now, this information is available in separate documents on the MCPS website. It is only available in PDF.

The new dashboard will have functionality for community members to compare information from schools and download the information into a spreadsheet.

School board amends public consultation policy

The Montgomery County School Board this week made significant revisions to its policy regarding public comment at board meetings.

The revisions include reducing the time people have to testify, limiting how often the same people can testify, and setting aside time at each meeting for unions.

Previously, the first 15 people to register to testify were assigned speaking slots.

Board chair Brenda Wolff said the changes are necessary because there has been increased demand for testimonial spots since the start of the pandemic.

The new policy reduces people’s speaking time from 3 minutes to 2 minutes.

Ten people who sign up to speak on the agenda for this meeting will be approved, unless they have testified within the last 30 days. In this case, their request for speaking space may be refused.

Five people will be authorized to speak on points that are not on the agenda for this meeting.

The board “reserves the right to limit the number of speakers and/or like-minded speakers on a particular topic,” the resolution to change the policy says.

Five additional places will be reserved at each meeting for representatives of trade unions and other organizations who wish to speak on an item on the agenda.

The three employee unions — the Montgomery County Education Association, the Service Employees International Union Local 500 and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals — will have a “permanent testimony slot” at each meeting. If a union refuses to speak, the position will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

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