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Survey Sees Trend to Let N.Y. State Give Aid to Religious Schools

October 27, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A total of 240 of the 580 candidates contesting the 186 seats to the New York State Constitutional Convention, to be held next spring, favor the outright repeal of the so-called Blaine Amendment which bars state financial aid to religious schools, or its substitution by the First Amendment of the Federal Constitution. The figures were disclosed after a survey conducted by Citizens for Educational Freedom, an interdenominational organization which favors repeal of the measure.

The 240 favoring repeal, or substitution of the First Amendment for the Blaine Amendment, constitute 69 percent of the 349 who responded to the survey, Reuben Gross, vice-president of the CEF, reported at a press conference here today. He said 135 of those responding favored outright repeal; while 105 favored the substitution of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom. Thirty-six of those responding favored the retention of the Blaine Amendment; 31 said they were undecided; 42 favored “other” positions. Repeal of the Blaine Amendment would benefit the more than 150 Hebrew day schools in the State. Under the present constitutional prohibition, only bus transportation may be provided by the State for religious schools.

A number of secular Jewish organizations have expressed opposition to the elimination of the Blaine Amendment, while Orthodox Jewish groups concerned with day-school education have called for its repeal.

(In an address at Syracuse, N.Y., before the State School Board Association, Dr. James E. Allen, State Commissioner of Education, took a neutral position on the controversial issue. Earlier, the association passed a resolution calling on the forthcoming State Constitutional Convention to retain the Blaine Amendment.)

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