August 27, 2021
Dear Residents and Friends of Oakland Mills,
Recently, members of the Howard County Board of Education (BOE) said that Oakland Mills should speak up in greater numbers if we want the absurd amount of deferred maintenance on Oakland Mills Middle School and Oakland Mills High School (OMMS and OMHS) addressed. I am proud to say that Oakland Mills delivered! At the August 12th hearing for the capital budget, OMCA delivered its testimony first, followed by OM supporters including parents, teachers, and concerned citizens who care about our children's future.
Now we are calling on you to keep it up! August 12th was just the first step in the budget process, and it will take sustained advocacy over an extended period of time to help OMMS and OMHS. The next step in the process comes on Thursday, September 2, when the Superintendent presents his proposed capital plan to the BOE. If the past is a predictor, OMMS renovations will be deferred many years, and OMHS will not even be in the plan. This must stop. At the rate things are going, these buildings, which are nearly 50 years old, will be nearly 60 years old or older by the time they get serious attention. Our children, our teachers, and our cOMmunity deserve better. We are asking you to get involved and contact our local and state representatives before September 2 to tell them that an HCPSS capital plan that continues to neglect OMMS and OMHS is unacceptable.
You will find links below for two documents. One is the OMCA testimony from August 12. We are keeping the message short and simple: enough is enough, invest in OMMS and OMHS. Please feel free to use this as the basis for your message to elected officials. The second document is a list of names and email addresses for those who represent us at the county and state levels.
OMCA Testimony To the HCPSS BOE on August 12, 2021
Email address list for BOE, County, and State Officials
If you are unfamiliar with the situation at OMMS and OMHS, here's a brief summary before you review the OMCA testimony or write your own:
What is deferred maintenance? It’s maintenance or renovations on the buidings that should have been completed already but wasn’t. For example, the school system has deferred the renovation of the heating and air conditioning system at OMHS since 2009.
The deferred maintenance on OMHS and OMMS adds up to more than $161 million. To put that amount in perspective, it is 20 percent of all deferred maintenance across all Howard County school buildings. The students of OMMS and OMHS make up only about 3 percent of the school system's enrollment, so our children are 3 percent of the system but carrying 20 percent of the deferred maintenance burden!
This is a critical time for our schools. Too many students have already passed through the halls of un-renovated OMMS and OMHS. Let's ensure future generations of students have the top-notch facilities to produce tomorrow's astronauts, scholars, state champions, nationally recognized athletes (OM counts all of these among its proud and accomplished alumni), and more!
Please, won't you take a few moments to get involved and contact your representatives? Once you've done that, please also share this with friends, neighbors, and relatives - and especially share with those you know in other Howard County communities who may want to get involved to do what is right for our future.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and stay well,
Jonathan L. Edelson
Chairman, OMCA Board of Directors