Spring vacation for the 112,000 students in the Montgomery County school system will continue to be scheduled at the end of winter for at least another year, the county board of educaton determined this week.
The board failed to pass a resolution changing the unusual "spring" break from its current time at the end of February back to its traditional slot in April. When the resolution failed to gain a majority vote, the date automatically stayed the same.
Superintendent Charles M. Bernardo told the board that the decision to change the spring vacation date originally was made last year as an attempt to conserve a significant amount of fuel.
Bernardo said the fact that only $54,100 in fuel was saved by scheduling the vacation from Feb. 20 to Feb. 24 led him to recommend changing the date this year back to April. In a memorandum, Bernardo suggested the dates of APril 9-12, which would fall near both the Easter and Passover holidays.
Board member Daryl W. Shaw said he had received many complaints from parents who said the unusual spring break schedule left children at home in winter with nothing to do. Additionally, because of the attempt at energy-saving measures, schools were closed during the February break, which left the children with few of their standard places in which to play, Shaw said.
However, Board Member Marian L. Greenblatt, in arguing to keep the February closing dates, said, "We always talk about saving energy, but when it comes to biting the bullet, we don't."
According to Associate Superintendent J. Edward Andrews, the total fuel bill for the school system last year was $9.55 million. The savings of $54,100 was therefore "pale" and insignificant by comparison, he said.
Voting for the resolution were Shaw, Herbert D. Benington and Verna M. Fletcher. Voting against it were Greenblatt and Blair G. Ewing.Board President Elizabeth W. SPencer abstained.
The board approved resolution to study ways of reducing class size, to hire a coordinator of volunteers with an annual salary of $15,000 to $20,000, to purchase a new computer, software system for handling students information and inventories at a cost of $51,687.50, and designated April 28 as secretary's day for the school system.
The board also discussed with affected parents from the Rosemary Hills cluster a proposal regarding the transfer of pupils next year. According to a memorandum Bernardo sent the board, which was under discussion, parents from Kensington Junior High School had for the first time withdrawn their opposition to the closing of their school at the end of the 1978-79 school year. With that acceptance by parents, a legal barrier to the implementation of his plan was at last removed. Bernardo noted to the board.
Additionally, with the proposal from the Kensington parents, the fate of Walter Johnson High School, which is expected to experience dramatic enrollment declines next year, seems less bleak, since some of the Kensington student, would go there, Bernardo wrote.
Bernardo said later that the action by the parents in the Rosemary Hills cluster was "the most significant school consolidation issue on which the community has seized the initiative in my tenure."
The board has not yet formally voted on the final Rosemary Hills situation. It originally intended to do this on APril 24, but because nearly half of Tuesday's business was left untouched when the board adjourned at 7 p.m., the vote may have to be moved back from the April 24 date, Board President Spencer said.