Prince George's County may close as many as 12 county elementary schools and reassign 4, 170 students if the board of education adopts the county school superintendent's "informal" proposals next month.
In a carefully worded statement, School Supt. Edward J. Feeney outlined his "current thinking" based upon community task force reports on school closings during a school board work session last week.
The county school board for the first time got a look at the results of the school closure task forces that, for the most part, had deliberated since last December.
In his preliminary recommendations, Feeney added five more schools to the list of seven schools selected for closing by the task forces. Feeney's recommendations, which will be formally presented to the board today, suggestedclosing these schools: Lanham, Holly Park, Brentwood, Ager Road, College Park, Somerset, Fox Hill, Whitehall, Glenn Dale, Palmer Park, Owens Road and Accokeek.
In his remarks during the working session last week, the superintendent pointed out why most of the five additional schools, beyond the task force recommendations, were chosen for closure.
He said Whitehall, for instance, was chosen because it was selected by a minority report from that task force. The task force majority report had asked that three schools be closed; two in 1978 and one this year. In the majority report however, they could not decide which school should be closed this year.
Glenn Dale was chosen, according to a school spokesman, because there would be only 165 students enrolled if proposed demographic busing changes were implemented.
The county school board created the community task forces to study school closings last summer after the board spent several meetings discussing which schools to shut down.The board finally decided to get help from communities affected by the changes.
Declining student enrollment, empty classrooms and a frugal county executive forced the board and local task forces to take another good look at their schools and decide, in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] of dollars and cents, which schools should remain open. The board is expected to make a final decision on school closings April 26 after it holds public hearings beginning next week.
In another related matter, the superintendent last week also cited the progress of the county school demographic study designed to change busing patterns so children could be bused closer to home without vilating the 1973 court-ordered desegregation plan.
The study which has some 41 "possible adjustments" would, if carried out, change the school assignments of 2,400 students.
According to Feeney, the first and second phases of the demographic study are complete. His staff has mapped out possible shifts so students could be bused back to, or near their pre-1973 schools without affecting the racial balance.
Feeney said his staff is having problems with a possible third phase of the study. he said his staff was charged withe determining wheter "special consideration" can be given to returning "racially integrated" communities to schools nearer their homes. He said "this phase is not far along at this time."
In order to make the adjustments for the integrated communities, Feeney said, the board would have to make new school assigments for students in non-integrated communities.
During the work session, board members asked the superintendent and his staff to investigate the impact of school closing on small, medium and large school, as well as many other questions related to school closing costs.
Board member maureen K. Steinecke (District 1) asked Feeney to determine whether small schools cost more to operate thanmedium or larger schools.