The Prince George's County School Board has decided to give the national NAACP information it requested about the school system's efforts over the last seven years to implement a desegregation order and the effects of recently-approved reductions in busing.
The board's decision came after NAACP General Counsel Thomas Atkins said he would reopen the federal court case that led to the desegregation order unless the board documents by today its contention that the recent changes in the busing plan would not resegregate the public school.
In a leter to the board June 26, Atkins requested information on such issues as school closings since the order went into effect in January 1973, statistics on student discipline, student and faculty racial composition and the specific effects on a school-by-school basis of the busing plan modifications approved in May.
Board Chairman Jo Ann Bell wrote Atkins two days ago and said the board was willing to provide as much information as was available although it would not be able to do so within the 10-day limit.
In her letter she also defended the busing changes approved by the board, which took 3,700 elementary school children off buses. She said Atkins' worries about resegregation were "predicated upon unsubstantiated allegations or concerns devoid of any foundation."
The national NAACP became involved again in the county's emotional busing issue at the request of its Prince George's branch after the school board approved the busing plan changes.
The county NAACP chapter long has felt that the school board has tried to thwart the U.S. court's desegregation order by repeatedly attempting to reduce busing and through school closings.
At a school board meeting last night, board attorney Paul Nussbaum said the May changes in school busing were minor because they affected only 3,700 out of 127,000 public school students. "The changes were nothing more than regular annual changes to school boundaries that have been effectuated as early as 1973 and had never before provoked such a response from the NAACP.
The May plan would not substantially alter the existing racial compositions of any county schools, he said. Nassbaum also said he is "absolutely convinced that Prince George's County is operating a unitary [desegregated] school system" and wouldl have little trouble convincing a federal court that is so.