It's too warm in here," quipped Charles Moran as he presented the Energy Task Force report to the Arlington County School Board at its meeting last week.
The board commissioned the report from a citizens' task force in the wake of last year's record cold winter and natural gas shortages, which resulted in temporary school closings. School closing were part of the curtailment orders issued by Gov. Mills Godwin last January. Moran is chairman of the task force that was charged by the board to study the energy situation and develop sontingency plans for dealing with possible shortages.
Moran noted that 38 schools are heated with natural gas while five use oil and two use electricity. He told the board that he has been advised by the State Corporation Commission and Washington Gas Light Co. that sufficient supplies of natural gas exist even if the area experiences a repeat of last winter's harsh conditions.
Moran said he has been assured by Rep. Herb Harris (D-Va.) that a regional - rather than state-by-state - plan has been devised to deal with any shortages.
"There will be no strange cut-off in Northern Virginia while everyone else keeps sopping up the energy," Moran said, referring to last winter.
Among the recommendations contained in the task force report are the following:
Use only cold water for bathroom sinks.
Ban smoking in all building areas to permit reduction of fresh air which must be heated or cooled.
Adopt a system-wide program of energy education.
Install a major solar energy-producing unit on at least one school site, if cost-effective.
Hire a full-time energy engineer to investigate and recommend conservation measures and enforce implementation.
Asst. Supt. Joseph Ringers told the board that thermostats in all school buildings will be set at 65 degrees this winter.
In other matters, the board heard a preliminary report of possible elementary school closings by superintendent Larry Cuban. Present board policy dictates that elementary schools in which enrollment drops below 234 students in grades one through six be reviewed for consolidation with adjacent schools.
Cuban told the board that the only elementary school whose continued existence is in question for the 1978-79 school year is the Ft. Myer school. That school is currently owned by the U.S. Office of Education. The country is responsible for staffing the school and providing maintenance.
The Office of Education has informed Cuban that it expects to divest itself of the school at the end of the present school year. This divestiture is apparently part of HEW'S expressed desire to "get out of the school business." Since 1963, Ft. Myer has served children of military personnel stationed at the army base as well as students who are bused there from other parts of the county.
Cuban told the board that the adjacent elementary schools, Henry, Long Branch and Key, could accommodate the approximately 308 Ft. Myer students.
The board's decision to colse Stratford and Gunston junior high schools, which takes effect at the end of this school year, has provoked bitter controversy in parts of the county. Schools officials said that closings were dicated by a combination of tight budget and declining enrollment. Earlier this year when Ft. Myer was first mentioned for possible closing, more than 250 parents urged that the school not be studied for closing.
Board member Diane Henderson asked Cuban for assurance that this report was not preparatory to "a wholesale policy of elementary school redistricting." Cuban assured her that it wasn't.