Candidates were asked:
1. Do you support the closings of schools, and if so, which ones?
2. Do you support the decision to renew Dr. Bernardo's contract? Joseph R. Barse, 47, of 4815 Cumberland Ave., Chevy Chase, is a project leader and economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
1. No. The board's policy of closing schools is wrong. Schools should be kept open, accessible and stable. So-called dollar 'savings' from closures are only being respent on doubtful experiments. Closures do not make the school budget smaller.
2. Unwisely, the current board has tried to tie the hands of the next board by adding four years to a contract on top of the sixteen months it still had to run. But, the next board will be its own boss in deciding how to guide and work with the incumbent superintendent, or his successor, should the incumbent decide to run. Barbara G. Center, 48, of 4623 Morgan Drive, Chevy Chase, is president of the Chevy Chase Garden Citizens Association, and a member of the Metropolitan Council of Governments.
1. Consolidation of schools is one option to maintain service levels but is too often seleted without other options being tried. In going to four-year senior high and middle schools I would expect the brunt of closings to fall on the present junior highs. Any closing must avoid undue hardships on any particular community.
2. I feel as a matter of principle that renewal of a superintendent's contract by a lame duck board prior to an election (in this case a majority of the board) is improper and as of July 1st of this year would probably have been illegal. Fredrica F. Hodges, 42, of 417 St. Lawrence Dr., Silver Spring, is an administrator of the United Methodist Church. She is a member of several civic groups.
1. The current Board of Education has spent an inordinate amount of its time on declining enrollment at the expense of many vital educational issues. Before the Board considers any future school closings, it must make major decisions in the areas of the middle schools, K - 8 alternatives, senior high curriculum, and career/vocational-technical education programs. In addition, future decisions dealing with this problem must consider: 1. potential cost savings vs. disruption to communities; 2. continuity of educational programs for all students; 3. options to closure offered by local communities; and 4. long-range planning for the utilization and improvement of school facilities including assessment of county's ability to prompty find compatible alternative uses for vacant buildings.
2. No. I believe that the Board of Education to be elected in November should have been given the option for renewal of the superintendent's contract. Sandra M. King-Shaw, 41, of 244 New Mark Esplanade, Rockville, is a homemaker and has been president of the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations.
1. If our county schools continue to decline in enrollment, we may need to close additional schools. Faithful adherence to the procedures specified in the Changing Enrollment Policy and the Five Year Plan will better enable us to identify candidates for consolidation and/or closure.
2. The board has renewed the superintendent's contract; it seems to me, therefore, that discussion of that contract is not a productive endeavour. Our students would benefit more from a discussion of education issues and policies. Barry M. Klein, 36, of 8209 Killean Way, Potomac, is a supervisory research physicist for the Navy Research Laboratory.
1. I do not support the closing of schools which have enough students to be viable educational facilities. The predicted cost savings in closing schools have not been realized, and the community disruption has been appalling. We should make every effort to preserve our neighborhood schools.
2. The decision to renew Dr. Bernardo's contract 15 months before the expiration date was ill-conceived and improper. The next elected school board should have the opportunity to make a judgement regarding the superintendent with whom they will be working. Since Dr. Bernardo's dealings with communities and staff are in need of so much improvement, an early vote of confidence in him was most inappropriate. Joseph F. Sagneri, 58, of 15004 Red Clover Dr., Rockville, retired after 27 years with Montgomery County public schools. He has served on many community committees.
1. Yes. I support the closing of schools when enrollment no longer provides enough student population to provide diversification in programs to meet children's needs.
2. I did not support renewing the superintendent's contract in June 1978. Whenever the program for children in public schools is affected by low teacher morale or poor administrative practices, I believe it ot be the responsbility of the Board of Education to make required changes in administration. David A. Scott, 62, of 5800 Midhill St., Bethesda, is an attorney. He has a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
1. Closing schools is frequently an unfortunate necessity.
2. Yes, as of this date. BarbaraKay H. Smerko, 39, of 4725 Bel Pre Rd., Rockville, is a former teacher, homemaker and community activist. She is a member of the League of Women Voters.
1. Schools must be closed when enrollment reaches a level where a viable educational program cannot exist due to an insufficient allotment of art, music, physical education, media center and reading staff. Better long-range countywide planning of facilities utilization and transportation needs in cooperation with county government is seriously needed. We must provide an orderly process which does not pit one nieghborhood against another and which leads to decisions that will be valid for at least five years. No community should have to go through the disruption of the school closing study process more than once in five years. On the secondary level, decisions regarding the middle school program and senior high program improvements must be made before any school is considered for closure.
2. I do not believe the school board acted wisely in renewing Dr. Bernardo's contract last June. Recent state legislation set the superintendent's term of four years to begin in July with notification the previous February. As Dr. Bernardo's contract does not expire until October 1979, a decision in February 1979 by the newly elected board would have allowed that board to evaluate the superintendent's accomplishments, particularly the implementation of administrative reorganization. Elizabeth W. Spencer, 52, of 734 Tiffany Court, Gaithersburg, is the current president of the Board of Education. She has served with many civic groups.
1. Yes. I believe some schools must be closed because we can no longer maintain a quality educational program in them. Among the criteria I apply are: areas where school age population has so dwindled that we can no longer assign the number of teachers necessary to maintain our educational standards, one of two or more schools in close proximity where all have excess space, and one whose closing does not fatally damage the viability of the community. In Montgomery County extreme age or exceedingly poor condition of the building has not been a dominant factor.
2. My vote against a June renewal of Dr. Bernardo's contract is a matter of public record. Carol F. Wallace, 42, of 913 Winhall Way, Silver Spring, is a homemaker. She is a former elementary and special education teacher.
1. School should remain open as long as they are educationally viable. Middle school, with no proven educational advantages, will artificially make elementary schools smaller by removing the 6th grades, thereby lenghtening the lists of schools likely to be studied for closure. I favor K to 6 elementary schools, 7 to 8 intermediate schools and 9 to 12 high schools where feasible.
2. The queation of Dr. Bernado's contract should have been resolved by the new board to be elected Nov. 7. Unfortunately, Dr. Bernardo has, rightfully or wrongfully, lost the confidence of huge segments of the staff and the public, thus making it more difficult for him to fulfil his legal obligation to fully implement board policies. Nancy H. Wiecking, 51, of 7215 Marbury Court, Bethesda, is a community volunteer. She is an officer and editor of 'Spotlight' for the Montgomery County Council of PTAs.
1. I think several more schools must be closed: those with the fastest rate of declining enrollment, most easily movable educational program, least community need and best potential use by other acceptable groups.
2. No, not in June. Sylvia Wubnig, of 614 Bennington Dr., Silver Spring, is a retired teacher. She has been a member of the Education Committee for 18 years.
1. Schools should be retained, wherever feasible, as a community resource. The savings, if any, are too negligible to justify increased transportation or community disruption.
2. The decision to renew Dr. Bernardo's contract was a precipitate action by an out-going board that attempts to deprive the electorate of its voice in that decision. Eleanor D. Zappone, 48, of 5 Schindler Court, Silver Spring, is a homemaker, parent and community volunteer. She has been a member of several school groups.
1. With our enrollment down by 18,000 in the past six years, some schools, unfortunately, have to be closed. Specifically, a school with less than one class per grade cannot be effective and should be closed. However, to preserve the neighborhood, students from a closed school should be assigned to an adjacent school. Greater efforts must be made to keep schools open by leasing underutilized space to community service agencies.
2. No. Dr. Bernado has not done an acceptable job. Our schools have declined while he promotes burdensome paper shuffling by teachers, unproductive reorganizations and computer-based teaching gimmicks. He has increased the number of administrators to the extent that Montgomery County taxpayers spend $22,900,000 on central and area offices. Prince George's and Baltimore counties, both with larger student populations, spend $14,400,000 and $10,500,000, respectively. There is so little money left for teachers that class size keeps increasing, which causes the gap between achievement and aptitude scores to widen. Additionally, I believe the current school board exercised authority which is the perogative of the incoming board by renewing the contract prematurely. It is the incoming board's right and duty to evaluate the superintendent and determine whether a contract renewal should be offered.