A coalition of parents and others who disagree with the Montgomery County Board of Education's decision to close Charles W. Woodward High School in Rockville has appealed to the State Board of Education.
The school board voted in November to send Woodward's ninth graders to Walter Johnson High this fall, to operate the two schools as a joint campus in the 1987-88 school year with students bused between them, and to close Woodward in the fall of 1988.
"We think that Woodward should remain open," said Robert Bernstein, president of the Woodward PTA, which -- along with Friends of Woodward Inc., a nonprofit organization of parents and residents of the community -- filed the appeal. "There is no basis for closing the school, and the actions of the school board can't be justified," Bernstein said.
Attorneys for the PTA argued before a state hearing examiner last month that the school board acted illegally by not allowing the public to comment on the proposal to operate the joint campus.
The attorneys, Judson Garrett and Rebecca Laws, also claimed that the school board's final decision did not include a written rationale that was sufficient to justify closing the school, as required by state Board of Education regulations.
Judith Bresler, an attorney for the school board, argued that the Woodward community did comment in writing on the joint campus proposal and that state regulations do not require school boards to solicit public comment on "every specific detail of the plan."
Both sides will present closing arguments to hearing examiner Mitchell Cooper, who is expected to make his recommendations to the state board in April. A final decision by the board is expected in May.