Françoise Carrier, chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board, attended the April 17 meeting of the Montgomery County Board of Education. There, Montgomery County Board of Education member Laura Berthiaume told Carrier that, due to the small size of Rock Creek Hills Park, if Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) were to take the park to build B-CC middle school No. 2, then it would soon become necessary to build a third B-CC middle school, on the site of the former Montgomery Hills Junior High (currently the Yeshiva and Torah School of Greater Washington).
Here is the exchange between Berthiaume ("LB") and Carrier ("FC"):
LB: "Our duty is to build a school sufficient to the needs of our future population. If we were to come back and say what we think is, because there's more land at North Chevy Chase, if you would be willing to talk with us about that, there would be adequate size to build, to only build once, rather than going back in seven years for the Montgomery Hills Junior High site, which I project would be necessary.."
FC: "For the middle school?"
LB: "For a third middle school because there's just not going to be enough room..."
FC: "At the Rock Creek [Hills] site you mean?"
LB: "Yes, eventually."
FC: "Well, that would certainly be a shame."
Carrier told Berthiaume and the other members of the Montgomery County Board of Education that the Montgomery County Planning Board was willing to discuss the much larger North Chevy Chase Local Park, MCPS's recommended alternate site, in order to minimize impacts on park users:
LB: "It was suggested in some of the testimony that Parks and Planning is open to negotiations. ... What I want to know is ... having looked at an aerial [photograph] of North Chevy Chase, there's lots of land there, and not much actual facilities in terms of park facilities. It looks to me like it wouldn't be that hard to put a school at the back of it. Is Parks and Planning willing to negotiate to take a look at a joint use of that site, rather than get into loggerheads over Rock Creek Hills or Lynnbroook?"
FC: "I think we're certainly willing to negotiate about North Chevy Chase..."
However, the Montgomery County Board of Education declined to discuss the issue further with the Montgomery County Planning Board. (As the first year of appropriation for the project is not until 2014, there's time to consider such options.) Instead, in a decision that appears arbitrary and capricious, the education board voted at that meeting to take Rock Creek Hills Park, even though the MCPS-recommended alternate site is much larger, better comports with their site evaluation criteria, and would likely reduce construction costs by $4 to $6 million.