The Washington Post

Uneven distribution of technology in Montgomery highlights disparities in private fundraising for public schools

View New Interactive Whiteboards in a larger map

When Montgomery County students return to school at the end of August, many of them will have interactive whiteboards in their classrooms for the first time. And chances are, if they go to school east of Interstate 270, the technology will be more foreign to them than for their peers on the other side of the county.

Of the 29 schools that recently received or will receive the smartboards in the district for the first time, only five elementary schools are west of I-270.

The difference highlights the growing class divide in Montgomery, which district and county officials say is being exacerbated by private fundraising paying for public school improvements.

The district spent millions of dollars to buy the boards for all elementary schools after parents and teachers said it was unfair that parent-teacher associations in wealthier parts of they county were raising money to privately pay for the technology.

The unequal distribution of the smartboards — increasingly replacing chalkboards in classrooms — is just one of the reasons the County Council and Board of Education are now reviewing district policies on privately raised money paying for amenities at schools that could give students from affluent communities more academic and social advantages. School and county officials say a sharp increase in the number of high-dollar, privately funded projects coming to them for approval also has prompted them to consider policy reforms for improvements that are not funded with taxpayer dollars.

Here’s a map and list of the schools that received or will receive the smartboards for the first time because of the school system’s recent spending initiative to get the technology in all elementary schools. All are expected to be installed in schools by the start of the new academic year:

Bel Pre

Burnt Mills


Cedar Grove


Clopper Mill


Dr. Charles R. Drew


Fairland Holding

Flower Hill

Glen Haven



Highland View

Roscoe R. Nix

North Lake Holding

Oak View

Piney Branch


Ritchie Park

Rock Creek Forest

Rock Terrace School

Lois P. Rockwell


Stone Mill

Strawberry Knoll

Summit Hall

Wheaton Woods

Lynh Bui is a Prince George's County public safety reporter and former Montgomery County education reporter.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.