Lawyers to File Motion For Prince Edward Boost
Lawyers representing the Negro children of Prince Edward county intend to file in federal district court here today a motion asking that the county board of supervisors be directed to increase its appropriation for the reopening of public schools.
The attorneys, S. W. Tucker and Henry L. Marsh III, said last night the motion also will request Judge Oren R. Lewis to prohibit the payment of tuition grants for the education of children attending schools which discriminate on the basis of race.
In addition, Tucker and Marsh said they will petition Judge Lewis to reconsider his refusal last week to enjoin Prince Edward county school authorities from employing and assigning teachers and other personnel on the basis of race.
They would not discuss any of the details of these motions. They were preparing the necessary papers last night in Washington, where they are attending the national convention of the NAACP.
Specifically, they declined to disclose whether they will mention a specific sum of money they think the board of supervisors should be compelled to appropriate for the schools.
They expressed dissatisfaction, however, with the $189,000 appropriated Tuesday by the board of supervisors in a special meeting at Farmville.
Earlier, theof Farmville, state NAACP president, said after conferring with Tucker and Marsh that the $189,000 was “hopelessly inadequate.”
Figures prepared annually by the State Department of Education, however, showed that the contemplated expenditure compares favorably with adjoining counties on a per pupil basis.
The Prince Edward appropriation is the equivalent of $118 per pupil. The local expenditure per pupil in other nearby counties in the 1962-63 school year ranged from $68 in Cumberland county to $121 in Appomattox county.
Other Counties Listed
Buckingham county provided $83 per pupil from local funds that year, the last for which figures are available. Nottoway appropriated $104 per pupil, Charlotte, $84: Amelia, $92 and Lunenburg, $83.
On a statewide basis, the average local expenditure per pupil for public school operations was $158 in 1962-63. The counties spent $142 per pupil, and the cities, $190.
If state and federal sums are added to the local appropriation, the expenditure per pupil in 1962-63 wwas $312 on a statewide
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basis. The average in the counties was $303. The average in the cities was $329.
Prince Edward spent $125 per pupil in local funds in 1958-59, the last year in which public schools were operated. The state provided an additional $128 per pupil. Federal expenditures for school operations in Prince Edward were negligible.
“No Integration Intended”
Mr. Griffin contended that the appropriation Tuesday by the board of supervisors “certainly is evidence that an integrated school system is not intended by the supervisors.”
He noted that the supervisors voted to spend $375,000 for tuition grants, as opposed to $189,000 for public schools.
Dr. Woodrow W. Wilkerson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in response to a question that the question of the adequacy of the local appropriation “will be considered as in any other county or city, during the school year.”
State law provides that each locality must provide from local sources 30 per cent of the cost of operating public schools. The State Board of Education is authorized to allow some laway[sic] in this, however.
Asked for his opinion on the general idea of the resumption of public education in Prince Edward, Dr. Wilkerson said the reopening of county schools in the county is desirable.
“Any child anywhere in the commonwealth who can profit from public schooling and wishes to do so should be afforded an opportunity,” Dr. Wilkerson said.
County School Superintendent T. J. McIlwaine said a county school board meeting is planned tentatively for tomorrow night. He said a later date may be necessary because two board members are ill.
Commonwealth’s Attorney William F. Watkins Jr., meanwhile, took issue with a statement by Mr. Griffin that the supervisors had not acted in good faith by providing only $189,000 in local funds for public schools.
Tried to Be Fair
Watkins said the board attempted “in a fair manner and in good faith” to comply with Judge Lewis’ order that Prince Edward provide funds sufficient to operate schools like those maintained by other counties similarly situated.
Watkins admitted that the county would be unable to operate classes like those sponsored by the Prince Edward Free School Association, but he observed “we just don’t have that kind of money.”
The association, created last summer for the benefit of the county’s Negro children, has operated on a budget of about one million dollars.
About Half of Request
The $189,000 provided by the supervisors from local funds is slightly more than half of the $339,300 in local funds requested by the county school board in its 1964-65 budget request to the board of supervisors. The school board said a total of $590,500 would be necessary to operate public schools for 1,600 children, the estimated number of Negro youngsters in the county.
This included $339,300 in local funds and $222,000 in state funds. The balance was made up of federal funds and miscellaneous school funds.
It is assumed that the white children of Prince Edward—about 1,400—will continue attending private segregated classes operated by the Prince Edward School Foundation even if public schools are reopened.
Judge Lewis has indicated that if public schools are reopened he will lift the injunction prohibiting the payment of tuition grants for the education of county children.
In a related development yesterday Attorney General Button declined to comment when asked about the legality under Virginia law of the board of supervisors
Virginia law primarily requires governing bodies to advertise their budgets and to hold hearings on them.