EDUCATION

Montgomery County Schools considering controversial student transport option

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UPDATE (3:10 p.m.):  When ABC7's Mike Conneen asked for a comment on this story, a spokesperson for the Montgomery County Public Schools issued the following statement:

(Photo: Associated Press)

"We have worked with -- and will continue to work with -- Farquhar parents to come up with a solution. Some, but not all, students will have longer than normal bus rides and we recognize this is not a perfect solution. The challenge is that we do not have many holding schools and doing a modernization with students still in the building presents a number of logistical, health and safety concerns--and can significantly lengthen the project. We want to move forward with the modernization as quickly as we can and in a way that is safe and most economical."

Original Story: A potential row is brewing over a controversial plan to bus students at an Olney middle school over an hour each way to a holding school while their home campus is being renovated.

In an email obtained by ABC7's Julie Parker, a parent says that Montgomery County Public Schools is planning to modernize Farquhar Middle School. But, while the school is renovated, students would be transported to a holding school that parents say is at least a 70-minute ride away.

"We all have deep concerns about the impact on our children's health, academic performance and general well being," Jennifer A . McKneeley, a Farquhar parent, said in the email. "[We] feel this option is unacceptable!"

The unsupervised, round-trip commute to the holding school would take about 2 1/2 hours a day, the email says.

McKneely is appealing for signatures to a petition that asks the district to keep students at Farquhar while the renovations take place or to find a better holding school.

Their deadline is Sunday, the email says.

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