PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 12)
The board of a leading Hebrew day school here voiced its strong opposition today to a proposed measure that would permit state aid to private and parochial schools in Pennsylvania. The opposition of the Solomon Schechter Day School, an affiliate of the United Synagogue of America, was stated in a letter to Governor Raymond P. Shafer from Louis Kasoff, president of the school. Mr. Kasoff wrote that in view of the serious financial straits faced by the school “the temptation is great to want to support this bill. However, the use of tax funds to support sectarian schools is a clear violation of the principle of separation of church and state, and the sacrifice of that principle is an exorbitant price to pay” for the relief of financial problems.
The legislation in question, the Mullen Bill, seeks to bypass a constitutional prohibition against the use of Commonwealth funds for any sectarian school by creating a State Nonpublic School Authority that would “purchase secular educational services” from private schools in the state. The measure, now in the House Appropriations Committee, is supported by Catholic groups and by the Beth Jacob Hebrew Schools of Philadelphia.
The Solomon Schechter Day School provides an integrated program of Hebrew, religious and secular studies for elementary school children and is licensed by the Commonwealth Department of Public Instruction.