The Prince George's County Board of Education voted last night to close 9 county elementary schools and one junior high school, all of which have declining entrollments, as a cost-saving measure.
The board also voted to allow nine elementary schools recommedned for closing by community task forces, board members, or Supt. Edward J. Feeney, to remain open. Without exception, the board voted to keep open every school that had been the subject of wide popular support by community residents.
A crowd of more than 400 filled the Eleanor Roosevelt Senior High auditorium in Greenbelt last night to watch the school closing votes and cheer loudly when the vote was to leave schools open.
The schools to be closed in September are Randolp Village, Panorama, O. W. Phair, Edmonston, Parklawn, Wildercroft, Douglass, Silver Hill and Orme elementaries and Kent Junior High.
The votes on school closings climaxed a sometimes agonizing eight month process marked by lengthy reports, public hearings and some emotional community protests.
Although board members had agreed among themselves to forego public discussion of the closings at the meeting, the voices of several members broke with emotion as they cast their votes. Board member Bonnie F. Johns left the meeting for several minutes after the last vote in order to regain her composure.
According to school board estimates, the board will save slightly more than $1 million by closing the 10 schools next September. That is $500,000 less than the $1.5 million reduction proposed by County Executive Lawrence J. Jogan in the school budget for school closings.
"We'll have to come up with that $500,000 somewhere," said Superintendent Feeney after the votes on closings. "I'm just as glad they closed the 10 schools that they did."
The closing of Randolph Village Elementary was recommended by board member A. James Golato and its closing apparently violated the board's own informal policies.
Unlike the other schools to be closed, Randolp Village was not studied by a community task force. It also is in an area where the school board shut down a school in 1977. After the 1977 round of closings, the board informally but publicly agreed that it would not close schools in areas where schools already had been closed.
The closing of Randolph Village means that students now bused to the school from the Kettering area in Golato's election district most likely will return to the neighborhood schools.
"This was not a school closing," said board member Bell. "This was a redistricting" for the purposes of changing busing.
Golato contended that Randolph Village should be closed because it was enrolled at only 67 percent of its capacity, because only six of its students were able to walk to school, and because the school was in a commercial area and could easily be sold by the county after closing.
Golato had remarked before the meeting that he had "wheedled . . . cajoled . . . I did everything I had to do to close that school." The vote to close it was 7 to 2.
Another school recommended by a board member for closing, Andrews Air Force Base Elementary, was allowed to remain open. Board Chairman Norman H. Saunders, who originally recommended closing that school, last night joined in the unanimous vote to keep it open.
Of the other schools closed, seven were recommended for closing by community task force agreed to leave recommended by Feeney after a community task forced agree to leave them open. One of the schools, Panorama Elementary, was closed by a 5-to-4 vote, but the others were voted closed by large margins.
Two schools, Riverdale Hills Elementary and Lamont Elementary, were allowed to remain open by 5-to-4 votes. In both cases board members Golato, Johns, Saunders and Leslie Kreimer provided four of the five votes for permitting them to remain open.
Most of the spectotars at last night's meeting belonged to groups that campaigned for months against the proposed closings of such schools as Cheverly-Tuxedo, Power Mill, Lamont, Thomas Addison and Camp Springs elementary schools.
"I'm floating up there somewhere," said Harriet Goldfon, a fourth-grade teacher at Camp Springs, after the Board voted to leave the school open by an 8-to-1 vote. "It's Christmas in April." CAPTION: Picture, SUPT. EDWARD J. FEENEY . . . "glad they closed schools they did"