The following were among actions taken at the June 4 meeting of the Montgomery County Board of Education. For more information, call 279-3617.
RITCHIE PARK -- The board voted 6-1 to bus graduates of Ritchie Park Elementary School in Rockville to Julius West Middle School and Richard Montgomery High School. All of the schools are in Rockville. The proposed busing is part of a plan to boost declining enrollments at Julius West and Richard Montgomery. Students from Ritchie Park now attend Robert Frost Intermediate School and Thomas S. Wootton High School, both in Rockville.
Parents had complained that about 60 percent of the 440 students who would be bused under the plan can walk to Wootton. The decision took on racial overtones because Richard Montgomery, an older school, has a 38 percent minority enrollment, and Wootton, a newer school with a well-regarded academic program, has an 18 percent minority population.
The busing will begin in 1988.
Board member Bruce Goldensohn voted against the plan.
NORTHWOOD HIGH SCHOOL -- The school board, claiming that it had been "bullied" into the decision by Montgomery County Executive Sidney Kramer and the County Council, voted to proceed with a plan to renovate Northwood High School and use it as a temporary facility to accommodate students from nearby schools undergoing renovation.
Northwood closed in 1985 after a protracted and emotional debate.
Kramer recommended a $5.5 million plan to refurbish the Silver Spring school as part of his proposed $349 million, six-year capital improvements budget for schools. The school board had requested $403 million, but did not ask that Northwood be reopened. Kramer has said his proposal to use Northwood as a temporary site for students from other schools would save time and money, shaving as much as 19 percent from the renovation costs for those schools.
At the board meeting, several members said they believed that if they did not approve Kramer's plan, he and the council would be less receptive to budget requests next year. Many said that Kramer and the council were encroaching on school board matters in taking the initiative in the matter.
Board member Sharon DiFonzo said, "I'm not stupid. I know that when it comes to approving monies, the board of education doesn't have a vote . . . I think the option we have been given is an intrusion."
Board member Blair Ewing voted against the plan and President Marilyn Praisner abstained.
Ewing said, "We know what the nature of this is . . . It is a form of bullying. Its intent is to put us in a subordinate position."