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Canadian Jewish Congress Appeals to Quebec Govt. to Approve School Aid Pact

The Canadian Jewish Congress said today it had appealed to Quebec’s Education Minister to approve promptly an agreement with a Montreal suburban Jewish day school so that the school can obtain public funds under a recently-adopted provincial law. The issue also involves provision of such funds to eight other Montreal Jewish day schools.

Under Bill 37, the Chomedey Talmud Torah became the first school to work out an affiliation agreement with the Protestant School Board of Greater St. Martin for such provincial aid. Subsequently, the other eight schools negotiated similar agreements with the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. The law requires approval by the Provincial Education Minister, Juy G. Cardinal but he informed the St. Martin school board that he was withholding such approval from the Chomedey agreement.

He informed the board that he felt it would be “unwise to give immediate approval to the contemplated agreement because a new bill now before the Quebec legislature, which he said would affect the status of private schools in the efforts to obtain funds from the provincial government. Dr. Samuel Lewin, associate educational director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said that if the Chomedey agreement was not approved by the Education Ministry, neither would the pacts of the eight other Jewish day schools.

“Mr. Cardinal is using the bill as an excuse to postpone approval,” Dr. Lewin charged. He did not specify the nature of the bill, however, other than say it would regulate the operation of private schools. Under Bill 37, a private school affiliating with a Protestant or Catholic school system, considered the equivalent of public schools in Quebec, is eligible for provincial financing of its secular departments by public funds and bus transportation for pupils living a mile or more from the school. About 5,000 children attend Jewish day schools in Montreal. Approval by the ministry would affect some 500 of them, including a cut in tuition.

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