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Federal-Funds Cutoff Forces Miss. District To Lay Off Teachers

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A Mississippi school district found guilty of racial discrimination laid off 15 teachers last week after its federal funds were cut off by the U.S. Department of Education.

The teachers received their termination notices on April 5, the same day that the Perry County school district's Title I aid for disadvantaged children was discontinued. The district has no immediate plans to rehire them, according to T. Jack Riley, attorney for the county school board.

"There is no question that children in the school district are suffering," he said.

"Title I aid paid for all of the remedial reading and math instruction in three of the district's schools," he added. Approximately 500 Title I students have been been shifted into other classes, Mr. Riley added.

Title VI Violated

The Education Department cut off the funds because county school officials declined to rehire a high-school basketball coach and an athletic director who had been fired for refusing to carry out racially discriminatory policies in their sports program.

A federal administrative law judge ruled in March 1980 that the school board violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it fired the two men, who had defied the school board's order to play fewer black team members and more whites.--T.M.

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