After months of intensive debate, the D.C. school board last week announced plans to close seven of 12 schools that Superintendent Andrew E. Jenkins has said the system no longer needs.

Jenkins had said closing all 12 would save about $7 million that could be transferred to educational programs.

The board's move will reduce that figure substantially, but no new savings estimates have been announced.

Some of the schools that the board agreed to close will be used next fall as offices for D.C. school system administrators. Other buildings will be locked while officials try to lure private groups to rent or lease the space.

The board's vote followed 10 community hearings on the closings, which first were proposed last summer by the D.C. Public Education Committee, a panel of 60 civic leaders.

That group said the school system was wasting millions of dollars each year operating schools it did not need. The group suggested closing 10 schools.

About 1,000 students will be asked to transfer to neighboring schools because of the closings. Most of the schools have suffered from years of low enrollment, or are in deteriorating condition.

Last week's action was the first time in nearly a decade that the school board has closed several schools at once, though its student population has dwindled by about 15,000 since 1980. It now stands at 81,300.

The last two times a superintendent attempted closing schools, in 1978 and in 1982, the board kept most schools open because of community pressure.

Board members soon will begin examining a list of 17 other school-related sites that Jenkins believes also should be closed and leased, with profits to be directed into education needs.

The board also has added Moten Elementary in Southeast to that list for study, with no time frame specified.

TO CLOSE JUNE 30: Bryan Elementary, Carver Elementary, Hamilton Junior High, Giddings Elementary.

TO CLOSE IN 1991: Langdon Elementary, Petworth Elementary.

TO CLOSE IN 1992: Garnett-Patterson Junior High.

TO REMAIN OPEN: Evans Junior High, Gibbs Elementary, Goding Elementary, Wilkinson Elementary, Woodridge Elementary.