Prince George's County Board of Education members last night formally accepted for consideration two different plants to curtail the county's 6-year-old court ordered busing plan in the 1980-1981 school year.
Although the strategies of the two plans, introduced by different board members, differed, the intent of both was the same: to return to neighborhood shcools as many as possible of the 70,000 students now bused. They hope this would reverse what a majority of board members believe has been a drastic economic and social decline of Prince George's because of scholl busing.
One of the plans was introduced by Board Chairman Norman H. Saunders as an alternative to the "memorandum of understanding" negotiated last month between Saunders and NAACP local chapter president William Martin.
Saunders' new plan would create a citizens advisory committee, composed of persons appointed by school board members and representatives on nine community organizations. It would be charged with considering possible ways of reducing busing in the county.
The second plan, drafted by board member A. James Golato and backed by members Angelo I. Castelli and Susan B. Bieniasz, would direct the school staff to draw up specific proposals for changing school attendance zones so that the maximum number of students would be returned to the schools in their neighborhoods.
Although Golato and Saunders criticized each other's plans last night, both areed that a reduction in busing was critical for the future of the county.
"This is to prevent us from becoming a trucking-warehouse-dilapidated county," said Golato.
"Prince George's County is gasping its last gasp unless we do something," said Saunders.
The school board will vote on both plans at its next meeting, May 1, but is likely to approve only one.
The major difference between the two plans, as Bieniasz noted is that Saunders' is "a proposal to initiate a proposal," while Golato's is "a proposal to implement a plan."
The study proposed by Golato would produce a plan similar to one condsidered by the board a year ago under which 11,000 children would have returned to neighborhood schools. That plan was tabled by the board after citizen groups mounted strong opposition at public hearings.
Saunders said last night his plan was necessary because, he said, "unless the board of education forms a committee of reputable organizations to study this issue, and if we create one-race schools, we will be right back in federal court and you'll have more busing in this county than you've ever seen before."
The plan Saunders negotiated with the local NAACPchapter and the original plaintiffs in the desegregation suit refused to consider it.