The Montgomery County Board of Education, still rankled by a Circuit Court ruling giving final jurisdiction over local matters to the state board of education, has put the state board on notice that it may again fight any outside directive to alter its plans for three schools in the lower Silver Spring area.
In August the state board, in a tersely worded ruling, informed the local board it would temporarily accept its new plans for Rosemary Hills Elementary School, Eastern Intermediate School and Montgomery Blair High School. At the same time it reserved final approval until after the local board looked at other alternatives and held additional hearings. The state board directed the Montgomery board to deliver final proposals by Jan. 31.
The local board had submitted the new plans after the state board ruled in July that the local board was "arbitrary and unreasonable" in its decision to close Rosemary Hills and redraw boundaries for the two other schools.
The local board immediately challenged that decision, but was turned down by Circuit Court Judge William Cave, who ruled that the state board had final authority in such actions. The local board decided not to appeal that decision.
In an Oct. 13 letter to state board president Joanne T. Goldsmith, board president Eleanor D. Zappone said that, although the local board would comply with the state directive, it "reserves any rights it has to challenge this extraordinary procedure . . . " A copy of the letter was received by local board members Friday.
The new plans, which the local board approved July 28, included closing Rollingwood and North Chevy Chase elementary schools and sending their students to Rosemary Hills and Bethesda-Chevy Chase elementary schools, respectively. The board delayed a decison on Blair until after the the November election and returned to Superintendent Edward Andrews' original recommendation for Eastern.
Board member Blair Ewing, the lone dissenter on the board, criticized Zappone's letter in a separate letter to the state.