School Planning Overview
Planning for adequate public school facilities is a joint effort between Montgomery Planning and the Division of Capital Planning and Real Estate at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).
MCPS planners project student enrollment for the near future at the countywide and individual school levels, and develop strategies and long-range facility plans to meet capacity needs appropriately. They also coordinate relevant county and state budgets for the six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP), and publish the Educational Facilities Master Plan annually.
Montgomery Planning administers the Annual School Test based on MCPS’ projections and scheduled CIP projects, and conducts School Adequacy Analysis for development applications accordingly. Planning staff also produces student generation rates and relevant housing data, which is shared with MCPS to inform their forecasting and facility planning efforts as well.
Adequate Public School Facilities
The Annual School Test, certified by the Planning Board for each fiscal year, evaluates the County’s public school facilities in light of new development. The test establishes an adequacy status for each school service area as prescribed by the Growth and Infrastructure Policy (GIP), which is then used to determine the appropriate conditions of approval during development review.
For each development application, Countywide Planning and Policy Division staff examine the proposed residential units and estimate the impact on the projected utilization of schools serving the project. A School Adequacy Analysis report details these findings and provides the condition of approval to be imposed on the proposed residential units, in the form of Utilization Premium Payment factors.
Utilization Premium Payments (UPP) are fees charged to new residential units when the additional demand from the development on the projected utilization of a school(s) serving the project is found to exceed certain adequacy thresholds. The fee is calculated by applying the appropriate UPP factor, outlined in the School Adequacy Analysis report, to the undiscounted and unexempt school impact tax rate applicable to the project.
For further information on the rules and standards used for determining adequate school facilities, view the Annual School Test Guidelines.
View current and previous Annual School Test results and reports.
View current Utilization Premium Payment rates.
School Impact Tax
Developers pay school impact tax on new residential units regardless of the adequacy status of the schools serving the proposed project. The school impact tax helps pay for the construction or expansion of school facilities countywide. The rates are determined by school impact area classification (Turnover or Infill) and residential unit type (single family detached, single family attached, multi-family low-rise or multi-family high-rise).
View current impact tax rates.
Student Generation Rate
A student generation rate is the average number of students living in a residential unit, often calculated by unit type and/or geography. They are commonly used to estimate the number of students generated from new development. Montgomery Planning updates the county’s student generation rates every other year by School Impact Area and residential unit type.
View current student generation rates.