The Montgomery County School Board voted last night to close two more elementary schools, both currently in the Montgomery Blair High School area of Silver Spring.
The board voted to close Four Corners and Woodside elementaries in June as it began a lengthy evening session dealing with boundary changes in the predominately minority race Blair area.
The closing of Woodside will affect racial balance in that area, which currently-has a minority population of 64 percent. Most Woodside students will be sent next year to nearby Woodlin Elementary, which will no longer feed into Blair High. Students from Woodlin will go to Einstein High.
Sixty-seven other children from Woodside, however, of whom 91 percent are minority students, will enroll next year at Piney Branch and East Silver Spring elementaries, which are part of the Blair group and have respective minority percentages of 55 and 57 already.
Elizabeth Spencer, the board vice-president, agreed to vote for this plan but she noted that in combination with other actions by the board, the move will worsen racial balance in the Blair area. She cautioned that the board must monitor closely the increase of minority students.
School Superintendent Edward Andrews had proposed sending the Woodlin and Woodside students, which have combined minority enrollment about 60 percent, to Einstein High to help allievate the racial balance problem at Blair. But he had recommended that in concert with another proposal to have three predominately white elementary schools feed into Blair, a move the board rejected earlier this month.
A special intensive French program at Four Corners will be moved to Oakview Elementary when that school closes. Eastern Junior High and Blair High will expand their French programs to include higher level courses for students who have been through the elementary program.
About 75 students and some faculty members from Blair High protested at last night's meeting what they perceive to be actions by the board that will segregate the Blair area. Many of the students carried signs that said "Quality Education or Resegregation?" and "Renovate Don't Segregate." One sign said "Apartheid -- NO"