A spokesman for the national NAACP said yesterday that "in all likelihood" the organization's leadership will veto the proposed agreement between the Prince George's NAACP and the county school board to curtail school busing.
"At this point, the agreement is in the hands of the national board," said Paul Brock, a spokesman for the NAACP leadership. "Those who have seen it say it is not in the interest of the national organization."
Opponents of the "memorandum of understanding" between school board chairman Norman H. Saunders and local NAACP president William R. Martin to curtail busing in integrated neighborhoods have said that it would allow a number of schools in the country to become all-black.
Brock's statement came a day after national NAACP Chairman Benjamin L. Hooks suspended Martin from the organization for negotiating with Saunders without first submitting the agreement to the national office for review.
According to NAACP policy, the local chapter now cannot consider the agreement between Martin and Saunders unless Hooks and the national organization's general counsel and education director rule that the plan "is not contrary to the policy and best interests of the NAACP," Brock said.
At the same time, Saunders has pledged not to formally present the pact to the county school board until it is fully approved by the NAACP.
The agreement, developed after a series of secret negotiations, would allow citizens of integrated communities to petition the school board to allow their children to attend neighborhood schools, and establishes procedures for the board to follow in accepting any changes in the 1973 busing plan.
The announcement of the agreement last week prompted 12 members of the Prince George's NAACP executive committee to file a complaint with the national office in New York requesting Martin's "immediate expulsion from office."
The complaint charged that Martin had "acted to aid interests that are inimical to that of both our national office and local board," Brock said.
Sylvester Vaughns, a plantiff in the original desegregation suit brought by the NAACP against the school board and a vigorous opponent of the proposed agreement, said yesterday that the proposal was dead. "If there are 15 members on the (local) executive committee, there are 15 who are opposed to it," he said.
Vaughns and other members of the executive committee said, however, that the committee was not necessarily opposed to some change in the busing plan.
Supporters of the Martin-Saunders agreement argued that serious consideration of the plan had been blocked by the proceedings against Martin, who, they said, had been unjustly treated.
"I feel like Bill Martin was railroaded," said Otis Ducker, a NAACP member who helped to develop the agreement. "It has clouded the issue. It's difficult to bring people back to the issue in front of them -- which is the agreement itself."
"I don't think it should be up to Benjamin Hooks to sit in New York and make decisions about what's going to happen to the citizens of Prince George's County," Ducker said. "It should be up to the citizens."
"I'm very depressed about Mr. Martin," said Saunders. "I'm confident that once the leaders of the NAACP read the agreement and analyze it they will ratify it. And once they ratify it, the board will ratify it."
Martin, whose suspension was announced Thursday at a NAACP meeting, has 15 days to submit a written response to the complaints of the local chapter, Brock said.
At the end of that time, Brock said, a national NAACP committee of six persons representing the national board, will hold a formal hearing on Martin's case. That committee could decide to end Martin's suspension, extend it, or expel him from the organization, Brock said.
Brock said that the national leadership's opinion on the proposed agreement would not be released until after Martin's case was decided.