To the Editor:
The Brickyard Coalition submitted questionnaires to all six candidates who are vying for seats on the Board of Education in the November 2012 election. All of the challengers responded to this questionnaire, but neither of the two incumbents responded. The responses may be viewed at www.brickyardcoalition.org.
The BOE election offers voters stark choices due to the candidates’ very different views regarding the Brickyard Road property currently owned by the Montgomery County school system. The BOE leased this property to the county in 2011 in a secret process without opportunity for public input, so that the county could in turn sublease it to a privately owned soccer organization The Coalition is fighting to reverse these leases so that a transparent, robust process with input from all stakeholders can be initiated to determine the best use of this property that is consistent with the board’s mandate to hold it in trust for educational purposes. Here is a brief summary of the Brickyard positions of the board candidates:
District 2 – Challenger Fred Evans responses suggests he has an open mind regarding how best to resolve the Brickyard controversy, but declined to respond to pointed questions because he states he has not yet researched this issue sufficiently. Challenger Rebecca Smondrowski supports BOE taking back this property and would strongly consider use as an educational farm.
District 4 – Incumbent Christopher Barkley declined to respond to the Coalition questionnaire, and not only voted for the lease to the county but was also one of the key promoters of the county lease. Challenger Annita Seckinger supports BOE taking back the property and would strongly consider use as an educational farm.
At Large – Incumbent Phil Kauffman did not respond to the Coalition questionnaire so voters do not know his current views, but he did vote against the Brickyard lease when it came up in 2011, and voted in favor of delaying the board decision for two weeks. Challenger Morris Panner supports BOE taking back the property with an open and competitive process to decide the future use of the Brickyard site.