Prince George's County School Superintendent Edward J. Feeney will recommend closing four more county elementary schools in areas where community task forces have already recommended nine closing, task force members were told last night.
The recommendations for additional closings in three of the eight areas where community task forces have completed work were accepted quietly or with relief by some task force members, who said the additional closing were justified.
But others were shocked and angry. "I just want to know why we went to all that trouble to study these schools if the superintendent was going to make his own recommendations anyway," said Carmen Loveday, who represented Riverdale Hills Elementary, one of the schools recommended for closing by school staff. "If I had known this was going to happen I wouldn't have done all that work."
In addition to Riverdale Hills, Feeney will recommend that Lamont Elementary in Lanham, Parklawn in Landover Hills, and Bradury Heights in Coral Hills he closed.
The task force recommendations, drawn up after two months of study by groups composed of parents, teachers and citizens from the neighborhood of each school being studied for closing, will be presented to the school board tonight along with Feeney's recommendations. The board will then hold public hearings on the proposed closing before voting on them in late March.
School pupil accounting director Jon Peterson, who briefed the task forces on the superintendent's recommendations, explained the additional proposed closing in each case by citing the number of empty classroom seats that would be left in the task forces' study areas if additional schools were not closed.
For example, if Riverdale Hills remained open, he said, there would still be 815 empty seats in the central inner-Beltway area studied by task force 4B, which recommended that only one school, Edmonston Elementary, be closed.
Soem task force members remained dissatisfied by Feeney's recommendations. Parents from Bradbury Heights said that their school was among the oldest in its cluster, but had otherwise been rated as the best school in the area by the task force. And a task force member from Riverdale Hills, Jean W. Davis, complained that a special program for underprivileged youth would be lost if Riverdale Hills were closed.
Feeney's recommendations bring the number of schools proposed for closing so far to 14. A ninth task force, one of four elementary study groups whose reports are due Monday. has already recommended that Panorama Elementary in Hillcrest Heights be closed.