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Montgomery County Planning Board certifies FY2025 Annual School Test and accepts School Utilization Report at June 20 meeting

Children boarding school bus

Annual School Test will guide school adequacy and Utilization Premium Payments for the fiscal year starting July 1

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), certified the fiscal year 2025 Annual School Test results and accepted the accompanying School Utilization Report at their June 20 meeting, in accordance with the 2020-2024 Growth and Infrastructure Policy (GIP). The Annual School Test evaluates the capacity adequacy of the county’s K-12 public school facilities and places service areas of schools projected to be overutilized in Utilization Premium Payment tiers for the duration of the fiscal year.

View the June 20 Planning Board staff report
View the FY2025 Annual School Test results
View the FY2025 School Utilization Report

The Planning Board acted on the following items:

Certification of the FY2025 Annual School Test

Under the GIP, the Annual School Test evaluates the projected utilization of each individual Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) facility four years in the future – the 2028-29 school year for the FY2025 Test. If a school is expected to exceed certain utilization level thresholds, its school service area is placed in a Utilization Premium Payment (UPP) tier. There are three different tiers—Tier 1 for moderate overutilization, Tier 2 for intermediate, and Tier 3 for the highest overutilization—with corresponding payment rates, which are paid by residential developers, as applicable, in addition to the school impact tax.

In addition to the UPP Tier placement, the Annual School Test also determines the adequacy ceiling for subsequent tiers of each school service area. If a development application is estimated to generate students in excess of the adequacy ceiling at any school, then the payment factor is upward adjusted in proportion to the number of students counted toward each payment tier.

Montgomery Planning staff prepared the FY2025 Annual School Test results, which were certified by the Planning Board to take effect on July 1, 2024, in accordance with the Annual School Test Guidelines v1.0 adopted by the Planning Board on December 17, 2020.

Highlights of the FY2025 Annual School Test

Tier 1 UPP placement:

  • James Hubert Blake HS
  • Paint Branch HS
  • Argyle MS

Tier 2 UPP placement:

  • Arcola ES
  • Burning Tree ES
  • Cashell ES
  • Flower Valley ES
  • Lake Seneca ES
  • Thurgood Marshall ES

Tier 3 UPP placement:

  • Mill Creek Towne ES

FY2025 School Utilization Report

The GIP also requires Montgomery Planning to prepare a School Utilization Report to accompany the Annual School Test. The report consists of a countywide report and individual school reports that together provide supplemental information about MCPS facilities. The latest projections from MCPS indicate that countywide, there will be over 2,800 surplus seats available at the high school level, over 2,400 surplus seats available at the middle school level, and over 6,600 surplus seats available at the elementary school level at the end of the six-year CIP cycle (2029-2030 school year). A snapshot of 2023 housing data is also provided in the School Utilization Report, which includes single-family home sales, housing development, and total residential dwelling units by school service area.

About the Growth and Infrastructure Policy

The Growth and Infrastructure Policy (GIP) addresses the adequacy of public facilities as it relates to the regulatory or development review process. It sets standards for evaluating individual development proposals to determine if the surrounding public infrastructure, such as transportation networks and school facilities, can accommodate the demands of the development. It also outlines requirements for mitigating inadequate infrastructure. The Planning Board is currently in the process of updating the GIP through multiple work sessions, which the County Code requires to be completed every four years. The County Council will adopt an updated 2024-2028 Growth and Infrastructure Policy via resolution by November 15, 2024.