This testimony was presented on behalf of MCCPTA by our
president Cindy Kerr at the BOE meeting, May 23, 2005:
 
 
 
Good evening - I am Cindy Kerr president of MCCPTA and I am
here tonight to speak to you about your pending action on Policy
FAA. Many of you served in  PTA positions before being elected to
the Board.  Recognizing the importance of building trust in the
local school communities to facilitate our work for children,  you
have often counseled me to "LISTEN TO THE DELEGATES!"
because , together, they speak for the community as a whole. On
April 26, 2005, this very auditorium was filled to "standing room
only" with delegates representing over 180 PTA school
communities
and 55,000 PTA members.  Our MCCPTA

delegates assembly voted unanimously and with passion
urging you NOT to adopt this revised policy at this time because
in the words of their resolution: "A policy change of this
magnitude should be thoroughly discussed by the whole Board
and the public. There is a no compelling need to adopt this
policy this spring without any hearing or adequate time for public
participation". For this reason, I again request  that tonight you
make only those limited changes that are necessititated by state
law - altering capacity calculations and incorporating student
choice assignment plans-- and delay any further revision of the
1986 Policy FAA until you have convened a community advisory
group and conducted community forums throughout the
county. MCCPTA's request is simple : Listen to the PTA delay
action on Policy FAA!

We believe that the Board of Education is elected by the citizens
of Montgomery County to represent the interest of the citizens
with respect to the operation of the school system.  Parents and
community members are often the most passionate about the
facilities issues in their schools. If any policy needs broad based
input--it is Policy FAA. Perhaps no policy of the BOE impacts the
community as a whole more directly.

Comments provided to you by staff state that the community has
had 10 weeks to comment on Policy FAA. This is simply a
distortion.  The policy you are being asked to vote on tonight only
became public as part of the Board's meeting materials last
Thursday.  No one in the community has had an opportunity for
careful review and input. Let's re-trace the progression --the
tentative Policy draft which left this Board table in March
eviscerated the 1986 version of Policy FAA.  In hindsight, there
seems to be general agreement on that point. In response to
some early feedback, the Policy committee met in a special
session on April 11, 2005. Participation at that session was by
invitation only. While MCCPTA leadership was invited, none of
the local PTAs directly affected by these facility decisions were
included.   A first set of revisions were then made public but not
until April 25, 2005. Though we as MCCPTA worked diligently to
publish the revisions to our delegates; the reality is that many of
our PTAs did not even have a single meeting scheduled to
consider these revisions before the comments were due on May
9.  While there have been ongoing revisions, there has not been
meaningful public participation. 

We all recognize that there will be times you will be called upon
to make "Solomon Decisions"; those decisions  where you must
choose between irreconcilable competing interests and use
your best judgment to serve the interests of children. The
decision to make changes in Policy FAA is not one of those
moments. These are adult decisions regarding boundary
issues, openings and closings of schools ; locations of schools.
These decisions are political and require that you as elected
officials listen to your constituency. There is no short cut to giving
the public time and opportunity to understand the reasons for the
change and to understand the changes themselves. The
revisions, good or bad, have not had the benefit of real
public participation and you will not be able to get past the
distrust that the community feels until you have taken the time to
allow for the entire community to be actively involved in the
changes and decisions through a community advisory and open
forums.

Our delegates are elected to represent every local PTA, they are
your window into the community as a whole. Please do not
ignore their unanimous and passionate request to LISTEN TO
THE PTA DELAY ACTION ON POLICY FAA.