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Constitutional Convention Bars Use of Development Loans for Church Schools

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The New York State constitutional convention approved early today a proposal which would put some restrictions on the use of public funds for private community development programs and would bar use of these funds for non-public, parochial schools.

Approval of the amendment to the constitutional proposal permitting public loans for these projects ended a deadlock which threatened the convention’s timetable. The convention must end by midnight tonight so that its deliberations can be placed before the state’s voters for approval on November 7.

The school-state issue was actually secondary to the measure before the convention — a grants and loans proposal to ease the present constitutional ban on the granting or lending of state funds or credit to private enterprise. Such an easement is considered essential to greater state cooperation with private enterprise for improvements of slum housing and other buildings.

Opponents of public money for non-public school purposes opposed the easement amendment because they felt its language would allow state grants for building of non-public schools. The amendment which broke the impasse came after Charles J. Tobin, Jr., legislative representative of the Catholic bishops of New York, unexpectedly indicated that the church would agree to some limiting language.

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