Week Ahead: Update on School Enrollment Trends; School Board To Meet Thursday With Bethesda Community

Plus: Leggett’s final budget forum; Ourisman Honda deal comes before County Council


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School system officials to detail rising enrollment to County Council

Members of the Montgomery County Board of Education and top Montgomery County Public Schools officials are scheduled to meet with the County Council’s Education Committee on Monday afternoon to discuss enrollment trends. About 161,500 students are enrolled in the school system—an increase of about 2,500 students from the 2016-2017 school year. The school system projects enrollment to flatten out at the elementary level, increase by about 450 students at the middle school level and increase dramatically—by about 5,000 students—at the high school level over the next six years. The rising enrollment at MCPS has led to increased demands for expanded or new school buildings in the county. The Education Committee meeting is scheduled to begin at 2:25 p.m.

County Council to hold public hearing on Bethesda Ourisman Honda agreement

Members of the public will have another opportunity Tuesday afternoon to weigh in on the deal the county struck with Ourisman Honda in Bethesda to add a plaza and other improvements near the Capital Crescent Trail at Bethesda Row. The dealership agreed to make the improvements after the county determined the company encroached on a shared trail easement while constructing its garage expansion. Rather than pursue a legal case to force Ourisman to take down the mostly built garage, the county offered to let the dealership keep it in exchange for the improvements. The council still must approve the deal and will be holding the public hearing on it at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the County Council Office Building in Rockville.

The council also is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the six-year capital budget Tuesday evening.

Leggett’s final budget forum scheduled for Tuesday evening in Bethesda

County Executive Ike Leggett is scheduled to hold his final budget forum of the year Tuesday evening in Bethesda before he begins finalizing his fiscal year 2019 proposal for the county’s approximately $5.4 billion annual operating budget. The forum is an opportunity for residents to state their opinions about funding county services or programs. Leggett has held four other budget forums around the county, including his first at the end of January in Aspen Hill during which teachers largely dominated the discussion while requesting more school funding. The Bethesda forum is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. Leggett typically sends his budget proposal to the County Council in March, which then reviews it before approving a final version in May. The fiscal 2019 operating budget will cover county spending from July 1 to June 30, 2019.

Board of Education to meet with Bethesda community Thursday evening

Members of the county’s Board of Education are scheduled to hold a public meeting at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School cafeteria Thursday evening to discuss ongoing issues in the area including student mental health and student suicides. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and principals from schools in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster are expected to attend. Other topics expected to be discussed include community communication and the cluster’s enrollment growth.

Planning Board to vote on plan for office tower and hotel in downtown Bethesda

The Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday is scheduled to vote on developer StonebridgeCarras’ plans to construct a 390,000-square-foot office tower and 135,000-square-foot hotel on the former site of the Bethesda police station at the intersection of Wisconsin and Montgomery Avenues.

The developer first detailed the proposed 250-foot-tall office building and 225-room hotel project in August. StonebridgeCarras received the land from the county in exchange for developing the new Bethesda police station on Rugby Avenue.

Board staff recommended that the board approve the sketch, preliminary and site plans for the project. StonebridgeCarras plans to begin construction on the building early next year and complete it in 2021.

Chilly week expected

The February cold is here, although some days this week won’t be too frigid. The National Weather Service expects a high near 36 Monday with a nighttime low dropping to around 24. Tuesday is expected to be partly sunny with a high near 43 degrees and a low around 31. There’s a chance of freezing rain or snow Tuesday night into Wednesday, when a high near 46 is predicted with a nighttime low dropping to around 28. The weather service predicts Thursday and Friday will be sunny with highs in the upper-30s and lows in the upper-20s.

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