The Fairfax County School Board faced a standing-room only crowd at last week's meeting, a reaction to the rumor that the county's indoor track program was about to be abandoned.
The controversy resulted from a memorandum fixed by William H. Jordan, acting executive director of the schools' support services department. The memo was directed to Ronald Savage, assistant superintendent for instructional services.
While the report did not actually propose termination of the track program, Jordan did suggest moving competitions from the field houses at Robinson, Fairfax, Mount Vernon and Hayfield high schools to Thomas Jefferson Coummunity Center in Arlington and Episcopal High School. As the reason for the move, he cited safety hazards such as obstacles in the racing lanes used for the various dashes.
Included in the memorandum was a five-page report asking for a reduction in use of school facilities for indoor track meets as a means of providing more access for community groups.
This particular segment of the memorandum drew an angry response from several citizens who addressed the board.
"Some observations were made, I understand, that the indoor track program takes away time which could be otherwise used by community organizations," said Vincent Agnelli of Burke. "It was always my understanding that the primary objective of our schools was to educate and train our children . . . but to run our young athletes literally out into the cold to make way for community activities which are a secondary objective, is incomprehensible."
In comments later in the evening, board chairman Rodney Page agreed with Agnelli, saying community use should not be considered in the scheduling of track events. Page asked for a more complete report to the board as soon as possible, asking that the issue be resolved before the first scheduled track meet in early December.
In other areas, the board approved a new firm to handle long-term disability insurance. American Fidelity Assurance Company replaces Boston Mutual Life.
The board also approved a grant of $8,120 to Woodson High School as reimbursement for money spent to repair tornado damage to the athletic fields.