As a result oí a legal opinión received last night by the Ann Arbor Board of Education, it appears that the informal "Wednesday Agreement" between the Ann A r b o r Public Schools and the city's churches will be retained. The agreement, apparently formulated about 1954, says the schools will keep Wednesdays free of after-school and evening student activities so the day can be used for church-related activities. The board was told last night that Michigan law does not specify whether such an agreement is legal or not. But Roscoe O. Bonisteel Jr., the board's attorney, said the schools do have the right to regúlate afterschool activities and hours. Bonisteel said the agreement can be terminated at any time, since it was an informal and verbal one. (Bonisteel did not attend last night's meeting. His opinión was explained by Richard C. Creal, administrative assistant to the superintendent). The legal opinión had been requested by School Trustee Richard M. Wood, as a result of a recommendation several weeks ago by the athletic directors of the Ann Arbor secondary schools t h a t the "unrealistic ban on after-school activities be lifted as soon as possible." The Wednesday Agreement decreases the amount of time available in the school for extracurricular activities. Trustee William C. Godfrey said he believes the Wednesday agreement "should be abrogated," because the school facilities are being closed to a large number of chiidren to "satisfy" a group of churches. Gpdfrey said he was sympathetic to the churches, but feels a small number of chiidren are benefitting instead of the majority. He added that he hopes a better junior high basketball program can be instituted, and said the Wednesday Agreement hinders this goal because it decreases the amount of gymnasium time available by 20 per cent. School Supt. W. Scott Westerman Jr. said he favored the agreement for two reasons: it allows Wednesdays to be used for faculty meetings, and it frees the system from constant interruptions from classes for church activities. According to state law, the schools must release a child from school for two hours per week for religious activities upon request of the parents. Without the Wednesday Agreement,, this law could mean constant disruptions. Unless Godfrey or another trustee asks that the policy be put on the agenda for possible abrogation, the agreement apparently will stand.
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