The Richard Montgomery-Wootton high school boundary change that will result in the busing of Ritchie Elementary schoolchildren to Julius West Intermediate and Richard Montgomery High School has finally been passed by the Montgomery County Board of Education. But it appears that this change will be a hot political issue during the upcoming Rockville election campaign. As a proponent of the boundary change, as well as an active participant in Mayor Steve Van Grack's last election campaign, I feel particularly well qualified to comment on the political aspects of this issue.
I think it is grossly unfair for the press to suggest that the mayor adopted his no-boundary-change position out of self-interest, because his children and his neighborhood are affected.
The mayor and all of the council members ran on a no-boundary-change position. The previous mayor and council also supported a no-boundary-change policy for the city. I disagreed with the policy then, and I disagree with it now, although the issue has changed during the past two years. The North Farm community dropped its no-boundary-change position after consolidating with Woodward and Walter Johnson high schools, and the Rockville and Richard Montgomery high school communities began to support boundary changes because of declining enrollment in their schools.
Some of the council members changed their positions in light of these new realities. The mayor did not. I believe he was mistaken not to, but we should all think long and hard before accusing any public official of improper conduct on the basis of a difference of political opinion.
MICHAEL I. GEWIRTZ