Rockefeller Urged Not to Support Legislation for Private Schools

Two hundred prominent New Yorkers have sent an open letter to Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller in what was described as “an urgent 11th hour appeal” not to support legislation that would give tax dollars to “private religious institutions” at a time of severe budget cuts in public services. The letter, already delivered to the Governor, was made public today by the Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty (PEARL). According to its executive cochairman, William Haddad, a copy of the letter was on the desk of every State legislator this morning. The letter was made public as the State Legislature, reportedly near adjournment, prepared to act on a program of upwards of $60 million in aid to non-public schools. The signers included Congressmen and other elected officials, parent leaders and officers of civil liberties groups. The letter declared: “Recognizing that if any legislation to support non-public education is passed it could not be without your support and approval, we want you to know that all of us listed below are opposed to any state aid going to private and parochial schools this year….It would be unconscionable to siphon off sorely-needed funds for private and parochial education.” The signers urged Rockefeller to exercise the “full influence and authority” of his office to prevent the passage or enactment of any legislation “giving tax dollars to private religious institutions.”

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