Maryland State Board of Education Rejects Local School Board’s Attempt to Limit the Record and Orders Entire Record Be Included Regarding Brickyard School Site Appeal
Preserving our Neighborhood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Keith Williams 301-983-5334
POTOMAC, MD – December 9, 2011 – The Maryland State Board of Education has ordered that “the recording, transcript, and minutes of those portions of the March 8, 2011 meeting during which the local board discussed and voted on the lease of the Brickyard Road site to Montgomery County” be part of the record on appeal. This would include any discussion of the site that occurred in the closed meeting held during that day, which was found to be an illegal violation of the State’s Open Meeting law.
The State Board also ordered that the record shall include the non‐privileged and non‐ confidential documents provided to the local board by the school system in preparation of the board’s consideration of the lease agreement.
This important decision occurred in the pending appeal of the local board decision to lease the Brickyard property to the County by numerous residents of the Brickyard community. The local board had argued that the record should only include the minutes of the open session that they had drafted. The community members disagreed, and requested that the full record be included in the appeal, including the recorded video, the transcript and the minutes, plus the other documents provided to the local board. The community members have alleged in their appeal that the lease is illegal as it is not for the benefit of the school system as required by Education Article 4‐114 and was not competitively bid.
In an earlier separate decision, the Open Meetings Act Compliance Board found that the Montgomery County Board of Education closed meeting of March 8, 2011 was in violation of the Open Meetings Act. The Board of Education meeting of June 8, 2010, where the Brickyard lease was first secretly discussed, was also found to be in violation of the Open Meetings Act.
This entire dispute and proceeding arises from Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s secret actions with the Montgomery County School Board for two years to lease the school site, currently the home of Nick’s Organic Farm, to a private, commercial, pay‐to‐play organization to develop soccer fields.
The actions and negotiations took place in secret to avoid any public input by the community, the County Council or anyone else. Since the secret scheme was discovered, however, there has been an overwhelming public outcry against this plan. The Montgomery County Board of Education and the County Executive have not used an open, public or democratic process or included the opinions of the County citizens who will be dramatically impacted by this proposed commercial development in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood. The County is still intent on proceeding despite the clear violations of law and procedure and no matter how many people object.