Reorganization of most Montgomery County Junior High schools into middle schools - grades 6 through 8 - and the creation of four-year high schools will be among proposals to be discussed tonight at a public hearing at the educational Services Center in Rockville.
Only five high schools currently accommodate grades 9 through 12: Rockville, Wooton, Sherwood, Damascus and Poolesville, (Grades 7 through 12 are housed at Poolesville.) One middle school. Farquhar, accommodates grades 6 through 8.
According to Superintendent Charles M. Bernardo, reorganization is being considered primarily because of a decline in enrollment. The decline was first felt by elementary schools and has resulted in consolidation and closing of some of those schools. The enrollment decline is now affecting secondary schools.
Bernardo says another reason reorganization is being considered is the financial crunch. Because of inflation, materials, labor and energy costs have taken a larger percentage of the operating budget while state and federal revenues have dropped.
To be discussed tonight are two options for secondary school reorganization. They were developed after staff study and discussion of recommendations from a secondary schools task force. Bernardo is scheduled to make tenetative recommendations by May 1 and make final recommednations to the Board of Education by June 1.
Option One would be a relatively slow phasing-in of middle schools that would cause the least disruption of existing patterns. However, it would require students to enter both middle schools and high schools at varying grade levels.
The plan would continue the current system in which a high school gets its students from two or more junior high schools and a unior high school gets students from several elementary schools. Because some high schools could not accommodate all of the ninth graders from their junior high schools and some middle schools would nto have space for all of the sixth graders from the elementary schools, students would enter high schools and middle schools at different grade levels.
Some students would enter a given high school at grade 9 and others would enter the same school at grade 10; some would enter a given middle school at grade 6 and others would enter the same school at grade 7.
Under option one, by school year 1980-81, 13 high schools could become four-year schools and 21 junior high schools could become middle schools New secondary school construction would be necessary in area 4 to provide relief for Redland Juniro and Magruder High and in area 6 because neither Gaithersburg High nor Seneca valley High can accept grade 9 students and maintain their current service areas.
Under the second option, no new construction would be necessary - except for a new junior high school already planned for area 6 - because it would allow boundary shifts to relieve overcrowding. The boundary shifts would also mean that students would enter middle schools and high schools at the same grade levels. Currently, areas 1, 2 and 4 have a larger capacity than necessary for the number of students they have while parts of areas 3 and 5 and all of area 6 are experienceing increasing enrollments.
If possible, no middle school would feed more than two high schools and no elementary school would feed more than two middle schools, under the second option. Boundaries would not be shifted if the shift would negatively affect minority or socio-economic balance.