Appeals to Churches For Classroom Space
The Charlottesville Educational Foundation said today it is ready to provide private schooling "without undue delay" for Venable Elementary and Lane High School students if the two schools are closed by state law.
William M. Pope, president of the foundation, said the foundation has 22 separate locations for conducting classes in the Venable School area.
He said "an urgent appeal" has been sent to the governing bodies of all churches in Charlottesville to make classroom space available for Lane students.
Pope's statement was issued after Federal District Judge John Paul's decision yesterday to admit 10 Negro students to Venable School and two to Lane. State law would close either of these schools if Negroes are enrolled.
Pope also said the membership of the foundation now numbers more than 2,000.
"To take care of the large enrollment at Lane," he said, "all available space in our churches, lodges, and theaters will probably be needed."
"In deference to the mixed feelings of the members of our churches, we had refrained from requesting space until last Friday, when an urgent appeal was sent to the governing bodies of all the churches of Charlottesville to make space available.
"With the emergency upon us, we feel certain of getting a favorable and spontaneous response, as all church members become keenly aware of their Christian responsibilities to the displaced children from the schools that are forced to close."
Pope said preliminary surveys indicate that, "given the classroom facilities needed," classes for Lane students can be started within about a week after it becomes clear that the school will not open.
But he said,"Speedy action in making these facilities available by our great Christian organizations is imperative to carry on our program effectively." He urged that church bodies hold emergency meetings to consider the request.
Pope said that as soon as public school teachers are released from their present contracts all who desire employment by the foundation will be given positions and salaries comparable to their status in the public school system.
All employees would be eligible to participate in state pension and retirement benefits without interruption, he said, and they would be free to return to the public school system when their schools reopen.
The foundation has stated that its members will be given a free choice whether to keep their children in private segregated schools or return them to public schools if the public schools should be reopened on a non-segregated basis.
The foundation was incorporated in July as a non-profit organization to provide private schooling.