Two high schools and two junior high schools in Montgomery County were targeted for possible closing yesterday by a special task force that has been studying alternatives to correct sharply imbalanced enrollments among county schools in Rockville, Bethesda and parts of Wheaton.
The 14 alternatives in the task force report are the first "to be put down on paper" addressing enrollment problems in the lower and central section of county, said school spokesman William Henry.
Charles Woodward High School, Herbert Hoover Junior High and Cabin John Junior High in Rockville and Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda have been identified as possible targets for closing. But no more than one high school and one junior high school would be closed under any of the suggested alternatives, according to the report.
Even so, the proposals are expected to generate an emotional response from parents, teachers, administrators and students.
"In terms of impact, this is going to stir up quite a bit of public comment and concern," said Henry. "Any school closing, no matter how far into the future, will generate a lot of public outcry."
Superintendent Wilmer S. Cody is scheduled to suggest his own preliminary solutions to the enrollment problems in August, and Henry said Cody will base his recommendations on the alternatives contained in the report and citizen reaction during the next month. The public has until July 17 to send comments to the administration, he said.
Cody, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, will make final recommendations to the school board in October. The board is scheduled to hold work sessions and public hearings on the recommendations before taking final action in November, Henry said.
The alternatives were compiled by a task force of parents, teachers and administrators who met with community groups to seek solutions to the enrollment problems, Henry said.
Cody and the school board may adopt one of the suggestions, combine several or develop their own plan to reshuffle students, he said.
The 45-school district, known as Area II, contains about 27,000 students and is expected to have a decline of 100 students next year. But enrollments among schools in the district vary widely: some are overcrowded and others are underused, said Patricia Sweeney, Area II director of Educational Services.
With 900 students this year, Walter Johnson High, for example, was enrolled to 62.2 percent of capacity, which is less than the 70 to 90 percent recommended by the board. Enrollment is expected to decline more during the next five years, according to the report.
One of the alternatives is to consolidate students from Walter Johnson and Woodward high schools. The move would mean closing Woodward after the 1986 school year and using up to 18 portable classrooms at Walter Johnson to handle a temporary bulge in enrollment, according to the report.
Other alternatives involve keeping both schools open and redistricting students in from other high schools and junior highs.
Still another alternative recommends closing Walter Johnson High in 1989 and diverting its students to Richard Montgomery High, where enrollment is also low.
At the junior high level, one proposal calls for closing either Cabin John or Hoover in 1989. Seventh and eighth graders would attend Cabin John, while ninth through 12th graders would attend school at the combined campus of Churchill High and Hoover.
"That's the only problem when they lay all these alternatives at your feet," said Roberta Hochberg, immediate past president of the Walter Johnson PTA. "It causes schools to become adversaries."