A group of irate Takoma Park residents, which has revived the revolutionary spirit of the '60s in fighting a local school closing, last week received financial and moral support from the city.
The City Council promised the Takoma Park Junior High Rousing Response Committee up to $5,000, which spokesman Suzanne Rhodenbaugh said will be used to publicize its cause and for possible legal fees.
"We are upset that no one is paying attention to the closing of the only school in the county that has been integrated through a natural community integration process," Rhodenbaugh said. Loretta Webb, director of the school system's Department of Quality Integrated Education, said although she agrees that Takoma Park Junior High is a naturally integrated school, there are other Montgomery County schools, including several in Rockville, that could be considered naturally integrated. The Takoma school has 65 percent minority students and 35 percent white students.
The council also agreed to join in any legal action the committee may take if the Montgomery County School Board does not reverse its decision to close the junior high school.
The committee is filing an appeal with the State Board of Education, asking it to overturn the Montgomery board's decision to close the school. Rhodenbaugh said if this action is denied, the committee will take the school board to court. She said the state board never has overridden a local board's decision.
"Many of the parents of school-aged children in the community grew up in the 1960s, have experience in demonstrating and are planning to use it," Rhodenbaugh said.
In other business, the council considered amendments to the city's recently passed landlord-tenant ordinance.
One of three amendments proposed by local landlords would allow landlords to pass on increased utility costs to tenants. Under the new ordinance, landlords are limited to a 10 percent yearly rent increase and must appeal greater increases, according to City Administrator Alvin Nichols.
Another amendment would allow landlords to raise rents higher than 10 percent on vacated units. The third amendment would nullify a requirement that members of the city's Landlord Tenants Commission be Takoma Park residents.
Presently, the commission must be comprised of landlords, tenants and citizens who live in the city. The landlords seek a change because many do not live in the city, Nichols said.
The council will discuss the amendments further at a December council meeting.
The council also commended three winners of the city fire department's Fire Prevention Poster Contest.
City school students in the first through sixth grades were asked to create a poster depicting fire safety in the home.
The three winners were: first prize -- Zuri Walker, a first-grader at Takoma Park Elementary School; second prize -- Jeanine Herman, a fourth-grader at John Nevins Andrews School; and third prize -- Brian Denbow, a third-grader at Takoma Park Elementary.