Voicing personal anger and community pride, 30 persons spoke in opposition to schools superintendent Vincent Reed's plan to close Mott, Woodridge and Jackson elementary schools at a special meeting of the school board last weeek.
The speakers included teachers, parents, students, a person from the LeDroit Park Preservation Society who wants to save the 70-year-old Mott School building, representatives of advisory neighborhood commission and a developer who is concerned that if Woodridge is closed, then tenants with children will not want to live in his project.
The largest number of speakers at the meeting held at Gage-Eckington School, 3d and Elm streets NW, opposed closing Woodridge School, which is located at Carlton and Central Avenue SE.
Students from Woodridge and Jackson, which is in the 3000 block of R Street NW, would attend Fort Lincoln School, which is scheduled to open in the fall on South Dakota Avenue near Bladensburg Road NE, according to the superintendent's plan.
Opponents of the plan to combine the student populations of Woodridge and Jackson in Fort Lincoln argued that the closing of Woodridge would rob its Southeast neighborhood of a community center and hurt the special program for blind students at Jackson.
Eight blind persons, including a representative of National Federation for the Blind, said blind students would be losing the benefit of having a centralized program at Jackson and being located across from Montrose Park.
Janiece Peterson, president of the Blind Action Forum, said she recently toured Fort Lincoln school building and found it unsuited to the needs of blind students.
Persons opposed to putting Jackson and Woodbridge's students in Fort Lincoln also contended that unpaved sidewalks and major thoroughfares, such as South Dakota Avenue, posed hazards to school children.
The opponents to closing of Mott argued that placing Mott's students in the new Gage-Eckington School would overcrowd it and debilitate the quality of an open school program there.
Mott school had a structured cirriculum during the last school year and opponents of the plan to close the school said Mott students would have trouble adapting to the open school atmosphere at Gage-Eckington.
The three schools discussed at last week's meeting before the School committee on Capitol Projects are in a group of six schools and two school administration building that are proposed for closing.
The closure plan was proposed because of declining enrollment inthe city's schools.