Showing posts with label MCPS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MCPS. Show all posts

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Derwood students are 2nd-place winners in Montgomery County DOT "Paint the Plow" contest

Top winners from Westland MS in Bethesda

This winter, Montgomery County residents may see one or more of the County snowplows decorated by Montgomery County Public Schools students during the County Department of Transportation's "Paint the Plow" contest. Teams from 16 middle schools in the MCPS system participated. MCDOT provided the snowplows and paint materials, and each team had four days to name and decorate their plow. The plows were displayed at MCDOT's annual Truck Day on June 1, and attendees voted for the top three winning plows.

Redland MS in Derwood

Bethesda's Westland Middle School team won the top prize of $500 for its Road Runner "Beep Beep" and Pokemon Squirtle design. Redland Middle School in Derwood took second, with a prize of $300, for their team's Snoopy-inspired "Scoopy" plow. Coming in third for $200 was the team from Roberto Clemente MS in Germantown, who went full zombie with their plow's Zombinator theme.

Roberto Clemente MS in Germantown

“The annual Truck Day and Paint the Plow contest lets us showcase the vital role public works employees play in contributing to and enhancing our quality of life,” MCDOT Director Chris Conklin said in a statement. “Public works employees are on the front lines during emergency conditions, including winter weather events, and these snowplows will serve as a reminder of the valuable work they do.” 

County Executive Marc Elrich

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich praised the student winners and the County's public works employees, including snowplow drivers. “I want to thank MCPS and the participating students and teachers for helping us recognize the hard work and dedication of our public works employees. From keeping our streets clear of snow and ice, paving our roads and collecting yard debris, to maintaining our vital sanitary and storm sewer systems, their efforts keep our County safe, clean and thriving.” 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Rockville school principal charged with assaulting student

Rockville City police have arrested the principal of Ritchie Park Elementary School at 1514 Dunster Road for allegedly assaulting a student in the building. The department jointly investigated the accusation with Montgomery County police detectives after the assault was reported to the RCPD by a staff member at the school on February 9, 2024. Principal Andrew Winter, 54, turned himself into police at the Montgomery County jail central processing unit on June 3, after a warrant was issued for his arrest by Judge Roger Zepeda that day. 

According to court records, Winter has been charged with misdemeanor 2nd-degree assault. He posted $1500 bond on June 4. A trial has been scheduled for July 18, 2024 at 8:30 AM in Montgomery County District Court in Rockville. Winter has led Ritchie Park ES since his appointment in May 2020. WTOP reports that Winter is accused of stomping on a student's foot during a disciplinary interaction that was allegedly captured on video, and has been on leave since the incident was first reported.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Police called after aggravated assault at Rockville school

Rockville City police were called to a school after an aggravated assault was reported there early Friday afternoon, May 17, 2024. The assault was reported at a school in the 600 block of Great Falls Road at 1:45 PM Friday. Julius West Middle School is located at 651 Great Falls Road.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

MCPS Countywide Art Show at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photos)

Here are some of the exhibits displayed during the recent Montgomery County Public Schools Countywide Art Show at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The schools represented at the show included Ashburton Elementary School in Bethesda, Candlewood Elementary School in Derwood, and Germantown Elementary School. MCPS uses the annual art show to represent student talents, and illustrate the goals of its Visual Arts curriculum. "The visual arts promote the core competencies - Academic Excellence, Creative Problem-solving, and Social Emotional Learning - identified by MCPS as essential to prepare students for success in the 21st century," the school system explained in a description displayed alongside the artwork.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Assault reported at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville

Rockville City police were called to Richard Montgomery High School, located at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive, Thursday morning, May 2, 2024. A 2nd-degree assault was reported at the public school. The assault was reported at 9:00 AM Thursday.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Rockville school broken into over holiday weekend

Rockville City police responded to a report of a burglary early Friday afternoon at Meadow Hall Elementary School at 951 Twinbrook Parkway. The burglary was reported at 1:13 PM Friday. Officers arriving at the scene found entrance of forced entry at the school. The school was closed at the time of the burglary for the holidays.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Assault reported at Rockville High School

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at Rockville High School at 2100 Baltimore Road on March 8, 2024. The assault was reported at the campus at 4:27 PM. Police were called to investigate assaults at Wootton High School last month, and at Richard Montgomery High School in January.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Assault at Wootton High School in Rockville

Montgomery County police were called to the campus of Thomas S. Wootton High School at 2100 Wootton Parkway in Rockville this past Saturday morning, February 24, 2024, after someone reported being assaulted there. The assault was reported on an athletic field at the school at 9:10 AM Saturday.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Assault at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville

Montgomery County police were called to the campus of Richard Montgomery High School late yesterday morning, January 19, 2024. At least one person reported having been the victim of an assault there. The school, which is located at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive, was closed yesterday due to the weather. Police responded to the scene at 11:39 AM Friday.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Police investigate alleged weapon possession at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville

Rockville City police were called to Richard Montgomery High School at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive yesterday morning to investigate a report of illegal possession of a weapon. Officers responded to the campus at 7:00 AM Friday, November 17, 2023. 

Friday, November 3, 2023

2 assaults in 1 week reported at Magruder High School in Derwood

A second assault in less than a week was reported at Col. Zadok Magruder High School at 5939 Muncaster Mill Road yesterday morning, November 2, 2023. The 2nd-degree assault was reported at the school at 7:53 AM Thursday. A 2nd-degree assault was reported at the public high school exactly a week earlier.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Police called after assault at school in Derwood

Montgomery County police were called to a school in Derwood yesterday afternoon, October 26, 2023, after a 2nd-degree assault was reported there. Officers responded to a school in the 5900 block of Muncaster Mill Road at 4:13 PM Thursday. Col. Zadok Magruder High School is located on that block.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Police called after assault at school in Rockville

Montgomery County police were dispatched to Parkland Magnet Middle School for Aerospace Technology at 4610 W. Frankfort Drive in Rockville yesterday afternoon, after a 2nd-degree assault was reported there. The assault was reported at the school at 5:26 PM Thursday.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

2nd assault in 3 weeks reported at school in Rockville

Rockville City police returned to Julius West Middle School for the second time in three weeks to investigate another assault reported there. A 2nd-degree assault was reported at the school on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. The previous 2nd-degree assault was reported there on Friday, September 22. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Assault reported at school in Rockville

Rockville City police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at a school last Friday morning, September 22, 2023. The assault was reported at a school in the 600 block of Great Falls Road at 9:30 AM. Julius West Middle School is located on that block.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Montgomery County Council approves $6.7 billion budget, 4.7% property tax increase

The Montgomery County Council approved a $6.7 billion budget for the fiscal year of 2024 yesterday, including a 4.7% property tax increase. That tax hike joins a 7% increase in water bills, and a massive recordation tax increase, cementing Montgomery County's status as having the highest total tax burden in the region. Despite clouds on the national and international financial horizons, the budget represents significant spending increases using one-time funding sources that won't be there in future years. While some have suggested this will "create" a structural budget deficit, the reality is that Montgomery County has had a structural budget deficit for many years. The Council has just made it worse.

Montgomery County Public Schools received an 8.5% spending increase in the budget. Under Maryland's maintenance-of-effort law, Montgomery County cannot reduce the amount of spending on MCPS next year, so we are now on the hook for at least that amount in FY-2025 without the means to pay for it. That will require either spending cuts or raising taxes next year. The MCPS funding boost is shoveling good money after bad, given that student performance seems to decline in proportion to the constant and mindless increase in funding for the school system. Something is seriously wrong at MCPS, but there is zero accountability or oversight by the Council.

The FY-2024 budget could best be described as the "deception budget." The Council violated Maryland's sunshine laws, casting votes on various line items in the budget secretly, outside of public Council sessions. This was noted by Councilmember Kristin Mink (D - District 5), who also took some of her colleagues to task last December, when decisions about Council and committee leadership were made behind closed doors. County Executive Marc Elrich (D) expanded on Mink's criticism of the shadow budget process in his remarks on the budget's passage yesterday.

County Council President Evan Glass, who directed the budget process from start to finish, made it clear he did not share Mink and Elrich's view. But his Trumpian "most transparent budget process ever!" declaration was only missing the Sean Spicer "Period." It was clear that the budget process was designed to avoid painful roll call votes that highlight councilmembers' positions on controversial, difficult or unpopular issues. Such as councilmembers who had promised to restore the Office of the People's Counsel opposing funding for the OPC in this budget!

Montgomery County continues to have a tax problem. It continues to have a spending problem. Its leaders can't seem to solve either one. They only know how to increase both.

Even as the tax burden increases on residents, the County is missing out on commercial and business tax revenue it could be raking in. If only it paid the same attention to attracting major corporate headquarters to the County, as it does to boosting government salaries and profits for the Council's developer sugar daddies.

In fact, after having once again raised taxes on residents, Glass will lead a Council effort to deliver another massive tax cut for developers. On June 13, the Council will hold a hearing on an expedited Bill 25-23, which will reduce impact taxes on developers. The move continues the disturbing and immoral pattern of the Council shifting the tax burden for its out-of-control spending from developers to residents.

It's no surprise we don't have money to expand or replace overcrowded and aging schools, when we keep cutting taxes on the developers who are filling them up with new students. Likewise, the laser focus on residential development expands the structural deficit, because the new costs generated by residential development exceed the amount of property tax revenue it generates. But the Council will continue to feign surprise that we are once again in the red next spring.

Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in over 25 years. It has lost some in the interim. Most are choosing Northern Virginia, whose jurisdictions were able to increase spending in their FY-2024 budgets without raising property tax rates - and in some cases, cutting taxes. Gee, I wonder why?

While there can often be hyperbolic discussion about "cutting waste" in budgets, the fact is that there is a lot of waste in the County budget. Nobody wants to look for it. Exhibit A, is the infamous $22,000 security camera system for the County's Supervised Visitation Center. Such a 4-camera surveillance system, with installation, would have available for about $1000 at the time the Council shelled out $22,000 of your money for it. 

Such bloated expenditures going to well-connected businesses, contractors and non-profits who donate to councilmembers are a major source of fat in the County budget each year. If we have determined that County government should provide A, B or C to the public, streamline the operations and have the County provide them directly. Instead, we are making costly appropriations for a thousand individual organizations because this Councilmember's campaign donor, or that County official's wife, is on the board of such-and-such charity. Needless to say, this practice must be investigated, audited and eliminated.

The bottom line is that taxes will continue to increase until you, the taxpayer, make it politically painful for the people who are raising them. This hasn't happened yet. There was no taxpayer revolt. The only interruption of a Council session was by MCPS employees. They shut it down. Guess who got money in this budget.

Politicians generally aren't smarter than you. They're just more clever and devious, that's all. Like rodents in a laboratory maze, they quickly learn to favor the rooms with a piece of cheese over the ones where they receive an electric shock. Whether it's beating the Columbia Country Club with the Purple Line, or picking your pocket with another tax increase, the Council has yet to pay a price at the ballot box. It will continue to plunder until it does.

Monday, May 15, 2023

MCPS art show at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photos)

Artwork by Montgomery County Public Schools elementary school students was displayed at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The annual All-County Art Show is designed to show the results of visual arts studies by MCPS students. Here is a sample of works that were on display:

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Rockville elementary school students sickened by methamphetamine "candy"

Rockville City and Montgomery County police detectives were called to College Gardens Elementary School at 1700 Yale Place in Rockville yesterday, after three students fell ill after sampling what they said they thought was candy. Inital toxicology reports on the 7-year-old children suggest the blue "candy" may have instead been methamphetamine-related drugs, such as Adderall or Molly. All three students have been discharged from the hospital. It appears the students were wise enough to spit out the items before swallowing them, minimizing their ingestion of whatever the controlled substance was.

"I am relieved that the students will ultimately be fine, but in many ways, what happened today is frightening,” Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said in a statement.  “I hope that it serves as a powerful motivator for parents to keep having the difficult conversations with their children about the dangers of taking or eating unknown substances." Detectives are continuing to investigate the source of the controlled substance the students said they found.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Montgomery County property tax hike proposed in County Executive's $6.8 billion FY-2024 budget

Montgomery County elected officials have raised property taxes on homeowners every year since 2010, except for FY-2015, when a 2014 election-year tax cut delivered a whopping average $12 savings to tax-whipped residents (gee, thanks!). It looks like they are going to do it again for FY-2024, as County Executive Marc Elrich (D) released his proposed budget yesterday, and he suggested the largest property tax hike since FY-2017. The extra payday would go exclusively to Montgomery County Public Schools, whose student performance has only declined as bigger and bigger budgets have been approved for it by the County Council. Money has never been the problem at MCPS, only incompetent leadership since the exit of Superintendent Jerry Weast, a clearly-failed curriculum, and an increasingly-stark lack of student safety and security.

There's an even greater problem about the record $3.2 billion outlay for MCPS in Elrich's budget. Due to the disastrous Maintenance of Effort law, the amount spent on MCPS can never go down from one year to the next. So, even as Elrich himself declares "a mild recession could take place later this year," his budget would lock in a required expenditure of at least $3.2 billion for MCPS in the FY-2025 budget - even if a recession deals a severe blow to County revenue. And we're not even talking about the worrisome situation in the banking sector, which is persisting despite a federal bailout of wealthy billionaires at Silicon Valley Bank earlier this week.

What that would mean, is that savings and cuts would have to be found elsewhere in the budget: police, fire, libraries, road maintenance, etc. And the County Council is already cruising toward a rude fiscal awakening, as it has convinced itself, the local media, and enough voters that its rosy budgets of the last few pandemic years were due to councilmembers' overwhelming talent and skill, and not the overwhelming federal cash that poured into the County to cover COVID-19 losses. That money is now being cut off by Uncle Sam.

You wouldn't know it from reviewing the proposed budget. And from a steep tax hike being proposed, you wouldn't know that a majority of County residents are being hit hard by persistent inflation. Not to mention that, for many County residents - particularly the elderly and others on fixed incomes - the current property tax has become the equivalent of a second mortgage they must pay off on their home.

There are other fanciful ideas in the budget announcement, such as the recent canard pushed by the County political cartel that Montgomery County residents are somehow paying less property taxes than some other jurisdictions. This is false, because the assessments on houses are so much higher in Montgomery County than in those jurisdictions that MoCo residents actually pay more. In reality, Montgomery County has the highest real property tax payments, and the highest total tax and fee burden in the Washington, D.C. region. We pay massive income and piggyback income taxes, real estate transfer taxes, energy taxes, cell phone taxes, rain taxes, and more - many of these being taxes that don't even exist in counties around us. 

Our current tax structure and burden are two of the major reasons for our moribund County economy. Montgomery County's economic growth and strength have been at or near rock bottom in the region for more than a decade, as measured by every relevant federal indicator. No major corporation has relocated its headquarters to Montgomery County in over a quarter century. 

Taxes have also been the major cause for the flight of the rich out of Montgomery County, which caused the County's "Rodeo Drive" of Friendship Heights to crash, leaving behind vacant buildings and empty storefronts. Significantly increasing taxes and spending, as we've done and as is being proposed again here, is a reckless move in this context, and total insanity when you factor in the County's massive debt.

One positive thing Elrich's budget proposes? Providing the funding to restore the Office of the People's Counsel, a lawyer who can represent the people in land use matters. This is long overdue, but we don't need a $6.8 billion budget or a property tax hike to make that happen.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Richard Montgomery High School student arrested in armed robbery of gas station in Gaithersburg

Rockville City police officers converged on Richard Montgomery High School Monday, and arrested a student in connection with the February 20, 2023 armed robbery of a Gaithersburg gas station. Jeffrey Gabriel Johnson, 18, of Rockville was taken into custody at the school without incident. Johnson has been charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault, and second-degree assault. He is being held at the County's Central Processing Unit.

Detectives allege that Johnson and an accomplice entered the convenience store at the Summit Shell gas station at 15 South Summit Avenue at 9:52 AM on February 20, which was a school holiday. One of the two - police have not said which one - pulled a knife from his waistband. He allegedly ran behind the counter, threatened the cashier with the knife, and demanded he open the cash register. 

The clerk opened the cash drawer, and the armed suspect grabbed an unspecified amount of cash. Both suspects then ran out of the store. The second suspect, also an African-American male, has not been publicly identified by police and remains at large. Given that the police statement does not ask for the public's help in finding him, it's likely detectives know who they are looking for.