Two days before the Montgomery County school board was scheduled to vote on a controversial school closing in the Silver Spring area, members of the County Council urged the board to hurry up and make a decision on the school because a number of businesses, including a government agency, were interested in putting offices there.
Council member Esther Gelman told the school board Tuesday she was not trying to influence its decision on Northwood High School, but she and council President David Scull were concerned that suitable tenants might be lost if they weren't notified early enough.
School officials yesterday questioned the timing of Gelman's comments.
The school board last year voted to close Northwood in June 1984, but this year's board, which has four new members, voted to reconsider the decision after intense lobbying by the community and changes in enrollment projections.
Since then the board has been locked in an unusually tense battle, with at least three board members believing that Northwood should stay open at least four more years. The board was scheduled to vote Monday night on the closing, but postponed its decision until tonight.
"I wouldn't call it an inappropriate remark," board President Blair Ewing said after the meeting. "But it certainly would be inappropriate for the board to consider that as a factor. It raises the wrong issues."
Superintendent Edward Andrews recently recommended delaying the closing by an additional year, to June 1985.