Frederick County Public Schools is projecting major enrollment growth over the next 10 years, according to the Superintendent’s Recommended Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP) for 2020.

The EFMP, which is updated annually, was presented to the Board of Education during their Wednesday meeting. The EFMP includes improvement projects the school system deems as needs over the next 10 years. The projects focus mainly on the condition of school buildings and any capital improvements deemed necessary.

Paul Lebo, chief operating officer for FCPS, presented the plan to the Board. He explained that staff is projecting enrollment growth over the next decade to parallel the growth the county saw in the 1990s, which is still considered the largest spike the school system ever saw.

FCPS currently has approximately 44,000 enrolled students. Based on the EFMP, FCPS staff is projecting there will 46,000 students by 2024 and 48,000 students by 2029.

According to Lebo, much of the growth will be seen in the eastern parts of the county and an additional pocket of growth in Brunswick. Elementary and high schools will be impacted most

However, Lebo said it is unclear what impact COVID-19 could have on this projected growth and longterm plans and developments within the county.

Due to this projected enrollment growth, various projects are planned to address capacity which will add about 2,300 new seats Lebo said.

These projects include the replacement of Waverley Elementary School and Brunswick Elementary School both of which are expected to be completed by 2024.

Staff is also recommending feasibility studies to be completed in fiscal year 2021 for Valley Elementary School and Green Valley Elementary School to assess what space additions are needed.

After the presentation, Board President Brad Young said the Board received many inquiries from the public regarding the Brunswick High School replacement project and why it had been pushed to the outer years of the EFMP.

In the 2019 facilities plan, the Brunswick High project was set to begin in 2022. According to this year’s document, it will begin in 2028.

Lebo explained that the positioning of projects within the EFMP is all dependent on funding.

“There is never enough funding to support all of our needs so none of these [projects] are a guarantee,” Lebo said.

He added that the re-positioning of projects is not solely based on monetary factors but also on facilities conditions.

“The current facilities condition index for Brunswick High School is 22 percent, that is in the poor rating,” Lebo said. “With the projects that moved ahead, specifically Brunswick Elementary, Green Valley Elementary, and Valley Elementary their facilities condition indexes are significantly higher and are in the critical range and all of them have significant enrollment challenges.”

Enrollment at Brunswick High is currently under capacity and even though there is growth in the Brunswick community, FCPS staff does not expect the enrollment of the school to exceed its state-rated capacity over the next 10 years, Lebo said.

The Board will receive public comment on the EFMP and vote on its approval at their June 24 meeting.

The plan will then move on to the county and state for review and approval.

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(17) comments

MD1756

With the state and local government already not fully funding it's basic responsibilities (even before considering the implications of the Kirwan legislation), just think what it will mean for taxes. As an example, currently the state only funds about 70% of its pension obligations. With the Kirwan's goal of more teachers at a higher pay, there is no way the legislators' estimates are valid for the Kirwan requirements. Parents should lose their income tax deductions.credits (both federal and state) to pay for their children's education. At least that way the parents would be finally paying the same to educate their children as those who have no children pay.
I also wonder what level of wages the new jobs will be and whether or not the taxes from those jobs will be enough to cover the increase of the costs (and I'm only talking financial costs not the adverse impact on the quality of life costs that come with more crowding). Human population growth is not good.

tchman321

Tuscarora will probably get another renovation before BHS. Shame on you BOE. These kids should have as nice of a school as all the other kids in the county get.

charlie211sfga

So I have one kid leaving a critical school that they shoehorned us into at the last redistricting and another going into a failing school that won't be addressed until both have graduated. Combine that with VES horrible distance learning for 5th graders and FCPS shows it truly does not give a flying fig about anything in the south of the county. Meanwhile those areas that overbuilt once again get immediate help. Jerry Donald is not effectively representing this district nor are any of the at-larges willing to help put pressure on the BOE.

MD1756

Are you willing to give up your income tax deductions/credits you get for your children to help pay for improvements to the school system? If not why not because in reality parents should pay more taxes because of the resource burden they put on the state and local governments and to make up for years of income tax discrimination those with no children have faced.

Aperiodic.Moralist1

Jerry Donald is an employee of FCPS. Going against anything the BoE wants is not in his interest.

jwhamann

People makin' babies while self-quarantined. 😉

Plus 1

Insider trading tip - invest in modular classrooms. FCPS capital improvements has meant modular classrooms for 30 yrs. Either that or building schools that are at capacity by the time they open. Stop building so many housing developments where county infrastructure can't sustain the population growth!

bosco

Those were called "Learning Cottages" by the BOE several years ago - sort of like putting lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. [lol][ninja]

charlie211sfga

Modulars would have been a welcome relief at VES as it is based on the outdated concept of open classrooms. Walls are temporary, rigged with office equipment and bookcases, and classes are frequently disrupted by other students due to their impermanence.

MD1756

People need to stop having so many children. They county is meeting (and maybe to some degree causing) the demand.

public-tertiary

I have occasionally suggested paying people to not reproduce. The idea isn’t always well-received.

MD1756

Instead of income tax deductions, att some point there should be taxes added for having children. Maybe for the first child, one/or couple gets a deduction, if one has two then they get no deductions. If they have 3 or more the taxes go up correspondingly to discourage: 1) over population and all the problems associated with the growing human population and 2) imposing disproportionate burdens on those with no children.

DickD

East of the County will get most of the growth and they are already crowded.

bosco

Finish the wall and flatten the enrollment curve so that it doesn't spike. (sarcasm alert)[ninja]

duffy5x

Why are you here?

threecents

Because he can't resist button pushing.

bveverka47

Brunswick High School always seems to get the short end of the stick with Frederick County!

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