The Montgomery County Board of Education remained deadlocked last night over a number of decisions about schools in the lower Silver Spring area as the second attempt in a week to end the impasse failed.
Board member Robert Shoenberg, describing his growing impatience, urged the board at least to make some decisions affecting the next two years if board members are unable to reach a consensus on a plan for a longer period. His suggestion died for lack of a second.
"We have filibustered here until 10 o'clock and done nothing," Shoenberg said.
The board met for the second time this week to attempt to alter some attendance boundaries of schools that feed into Montgomery Blair High School and to decide whether or not to keep open a number of other schools in the Silver Spring area that the previous board voted to close.
The board has been unable, in particular, to decide whether to keep open Northwood High School. The previous board voted last year to close the school in June 1984, but three newly elected board members favor continuing the school. Three others oppose it. Board member Odessa Shannon, who has not stated her position on the school, has been out of town because of a death in her family.
Board members have said they want to decide first about Northwood because the status of the school will determine where its students will enroll. Those enrollment decisions, board members have said, will have a direct effect on many of the other schools in the area.
Last summer the State Board of Education rejected a boundary change by the previous school board that would have increased the racial imbalance at Blair, the high school with the highest minority enrollment in the county.
Many of the students at Northwood, which has a predominantly white enrollment, are scheduled to attend Blair if it closes; if the closing decision is reversed or delayed, school officials have told the board they will have to make a number of other boundary changes to improve the racial balance at Blair. The minority enrollment at Blair currently is over 60 percent; the average minority enrollment at county schools is 25.4 percent.
Shoenberg remarked following his unsuccessful attempt to get action that board member Suzanne Peyser is scheduled to go on vacation next week when there will be make another attempt to act on the Silver Spring situation. Shoenberg said that without Peyser the board would find itself in the same predicament.
Board member James Cronin said the board had been set back by Shannon's absence, which was due to unavoidable circumstances. He added that the board should not continue to be "hamstrung" because one board member is on vacation.