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Protest Against Secrecy. a Pya Un??<pSo?t <. r%? j d.H!?!. <JCU! C?yt I ——— I COUNCIL AND THE NON-PROVIDED SCHOOLS. I INDISCREET REMARKS MADE USE OF. At the monthly meeting of the Urban Dis- trict Council on Monday night, M.r William David presiding, a protracted discussion took place relative to the precept which the' Edu- cation Committee recommended the Council to issue upon the overseers to meet the ex- penses for the next half-year. Mr. H. 1). Rees, as chairman of the Educa- tion Committee, explained that the estimated amount required was £ 22,284, against which they expected to receive cE14,500, and they therefore, asked the Council to issue a precept for the year amounting to e8470. Since the estimate had been prepared, he was sorry to say that in spite of the red-tapeism of the Government departments, they had received an advice that £ 2768 15s. had been placed to their credit, but on Friday the Government officials sent them another advice reducing that amount to jB2276 18s. 8d., thus reducing the special aid grant by £ 491 15s. 4d. The question of grants was one which undoubtedly required their serious consideration. The Government had. from time to time—and they still continued to do so—imposed more obliga- tions upon them, but, unfortunately, they did Lot give them the same ratio in grants to meet such obligations On the last occasion the special aid grant which the Government decided to pay to the various authorities was fixed at i2200,000, but the demand amounted to £ 243,119, and as a result, of depreciation they in Llanelly lost in grants 9,491. Unfortunately the present Government had not given atten- tion to education grants as they had done in past years. When the reduction of the local rates was being considered, one must have re- gard to the fact that a great deal was in- fluenced by the Government grants. Had they not been in possession of the special aid grant the demand upon the rates would have to be increased by 8d. in the cE. The Committee, were, however, pleased to ask them to issue a precept this year for 2700 less than that of the previous year. As an education authority, the members felt it their duty that the Council should call the attention of the authorities, especially the members of Parliament, to the increased obligations that were growing year by year. After referring to the egst of medi- cal inspection of school children, etc., which had been imposed upon them, he pointed out that so far the Government had not done anything to improve the financial position. He asked the Council to issue a precept for £ 4235 to meet the expenditure for the next half year. The rate for the year would be equal to Is. lid. in the P-. Mr. Nathan Griffiths enquired whether the Committee had taken into consideration the claims of the non-orovided schools. He un- derstood that the Catholic School had sub- mitted a large claim against. the Committee, and also the Church of England School. He believed the matter depended upon the deci- sion of the House of Lords in the case which was fought- out the previous week. The mana- gers of the non-provided schools were waiting for it. How were the Committee going to meet, the claim? If the House of Lords de- cided against the Swansea Authority- Mr. D. JaIlles Dayies: It has nothing to do with Li S. Mr. Griffiths replied that the S^vartsea case would be on a, par with theirs. The Roman Catholic School managers contended that they did not pay their teachers the same rate as those in the provided schools, and that they did not, employ the staffs on an equal basis to the elementary schools. It was on. that basis that the Swansea case was fought out. He was pleased that the rate had been reduced by fourpeiiee in the R. With regard to the R375 which the Committee paid the three doctors and the nurse for the medical inspec- tion of school children, lie believed that, the health of the children depended upon whe- ther they were well fed and clothed. It did not matter how a child was in constitution," becanse if it were, not well fed and clothed if would not be an asset to the town. He should be glad to see a part of the amount which was being paid to the doctors devoted towards the clothing of children whose parents were notina pÙsitioIl to do so themselves. In spite of the red-tapeisni of the Government, he con- gratulated the Committee upon their efforts in trying to reduce the rates. Mr D. J. Davies: I hope none of the remarks made by Mr. Griffiths with regard to the com- parison between Swansea, and Llanelly will be reported, as they tend to prejudice our posi- tion. As far as we are concerned, we have special circumstances, because we have an agreement, with the managers Mr. Frank Vivian: We were told at the Education, Committee on Thursday that ihere was no agreement. Mr. Davies: That, is not so. I was r. mem- ber- of the Committee at the time, and there is a working agreement in force. It is true that Mr. McLovighliu denies it, but it has been acted upon ever since. M'r. Vivian: Then lot the ratepayers know the position. Mr. Davies: These indiscreet remarks in the Council Chamber will, if reported, spoil our case. Mr. Vivian: Too much has been kept within this room in the past. Let there be no secrecy about j1. then the ratepayers will not he able to say that the elaitil has been sprung u port them. I Mr. Joseph Roberts reminded Mr. Vivian that the Committee had received a, letter from the Church of En-gland School and the St. Mary's Catholic School, which had been pub- lished. Therefore, it was well known that a claim had been made. Mr. W. Bramwell Jones hoped that it. would be one of the future rules of the Council to reveal every infonnation, without any regard as to how it affected the ratepayers. It hnd now come to that. In the past. when they had discussed matters in private, they had been accused, but no one had brought any definite charge of anything having been, done dis- honourably. Still, in order that the rate- payers might see that it was necessary at times to discuss matters in private, and with a view to avoiding charges being made of things being dune discreditably, he hoped everything would he reported. Mr. Griffiths: Another convert again. Afr. Jones: Not at all I am forced to do it, and I hope that in future the ratepayers will see that the conduct of the Council in the past has been right and proper. i Mr Griffiths contended that he was at per- fect liberty to -nslc the question. Mr. Davies: But you have prejudiced the ]>ositi m. Mr. Griffiths: This is the only opportunity I have. Mr D. James Davies said he was not against Mr. Griffiths asking any question, but dis- agreed with his comparing their case with that of the Swansea Education Committee. Mr. Guest .made his i annual protest against the manner in. which 'the estimates of the Education Committee were brought forward. The two or three members of the Council who were not members of the Committee were entitled to a more complete estimate than had been given them that night. He was in- terested, in listening to the remarks of Mr. Rees, when he complained that the present Government, did not contribute the amount of aid grant they had .contributed in former years. He would like to ask what Govern- ment had in former years aiven special aid grant at all? (hear, hear). It was the present • Government that, incurred the grant Mr. Griffiths: The Labour members of the Government. 1\Ir. Guest: 1 dare say. because they do everything that is worth talking about. The I fault, he continued, was due to the gross ex- trava,gance of the Education Committees (ironical laughter). He was the only member- of that Council who took the opportunity of trying to prevent the rates going up (laughter). He would not wait until an election to state I that he was the only member that had tried to keep down the rates. The Education Com- mittee had gone in for expenditure on the I ground that for every sixpence they soent they received 4H. from the Government. Their Nemesis had arrived, and those who so gaily spent the "money now found that the Govern- ment was not in a position to be so generous as it once was to the poorer districts. The education rate for the last half-year bounded up fivepence in the e, and it was not much to crow about that it had now been reduced by threepence, because the present burden' on the ratepayers ought not to' be. The Commit- tee were also guilty of extravagance by en- couraging the attendance of children under the age of five years. The Government had altered their system of grants, having in- creased them for all children over the age of five years, and reduced them for those under that age. The theory in Llanelly had been that the larger the number of children they had attending school, the better it was for the ratepayers. The Committee made every effort to secure a high percentage, in order that -they might earn' grants. They, however, forgot that the grant only paid one-third ot the cost of educating the child. It was quite obvious that the larger the number of child- ren attending the schools, the greater would be the expenditure. The Government having discouraged this course, he would like to hear what the Committee had done? He believed it was their duty to investigate the matter at the earliest possible opportunity. He could quite understand that course being pursued in large cities, where the streets were the only playgrounds, and where the mothers had to go out to work. The schools were then absolutely necessary as nurseries for children ranging from three to five years. In [I town like Llanelly, where they had plenty of back- ground, where ninety-nine out of a hundred mothers had not to go to the works, the pro- per place for the children under five years was at home. Mr. H. D. Rees observed that for Mr .Guest. to charge the Education" Connnittee with hav- ing encouraged the attendance of children under five years of age was a stretch of imagi- nation. He defied Mr. Guest to cite any case in which their authority had encouraged such a course. If children of that age attended school, it was absolutely necessary that they; should accept them. The Committee had long ago abolished the system of paying the head- teachers accordang to the attendance of' children. They had also abolished standard seven from the elementary schools. Last year they had children attending the elementary schools who were earning only 27s. per head in grants, but since they had encouraged them to attend the Higher Elementary School they earned 50s. per head. Mr. Guest: How much more did it cost you. Mr. Rtes replied that it must be obvious to Mr Guest, who had studied political economy,, because they had not increased their staff during the last twelve months. The Commit- tee found that the .attendance at the Higher Elementary School previous to adopting the above course was not a credit to the town, and the fact that they encouraged the children to attend the ,school made the cost per head less. The staffs had not in any of the schools been increased. As a matter of fact the Com- mittee had reduced them by thre.e. or four teachers. It would be a matter of interest to Mr. Guest to know that last year about £ 24,000 less grants were paid bv the Govern- ment, compared with 1907-8. If Mr. Guest censured the Government for the medical in- spection of schools a.nd re-staffing of schools, there would be something to say. but to charge the Education Committee with useless expenditure was entirely out of place. The Chflirman confirmed what Mr. Rees had said in regard to the tendency of the Government to compel education committees to spend- more money, and also the tendency of the times to require things to be brought forward on a larger scale. During his. ehair- manship lie had on several occasions to attend conferences of the Association of Education Committees, and they had these matters well in hand. He came to the conclusion, from the discussions, that the remedy was an equalised education rate, to be eolleded by the Govern- ment. so that the wealthy towns, like Brighton and Bournemouth, which were very notorious instances1, should not be free with an educa- tion rate cf threepence in the while the working-class communities like Llanelly. where everybody had to struggle for his bread and cheese, had to pay the hish rate of Is lid in the £ It had been described by represen- tatives attending the conference as a mon- strous rate, but they in Llanelly had got so used to it. Their love for their children very often made them forget the amount, coming out of their pockets. It was subsequentlv decided to issue H pre- cept. upon the overseers for the amount re- quired.

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