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Aguilar v. Felton

Supreme Court of the United States

December 5, 1984, Argued ; July 1, 1985, Decided 1

No. 84-237


 [*404]  [***294]  [**3233]    JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

 The City of New York uses federal funds to pay the salaries of public employees who teach in parochial schools. In this companion case to School District of Grand Rapids v. Ball, ante, p. 373, we determine whether this practice violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The program at issue in this case, originally enacted as ] Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 3 [****6]  authorizes the Secretary of Education to distribute financial assistance to local educational institutions to meet the needs of  [**3234]  educationally deprived children from low-income families. The funds are to be appropriated in accordance with programs proposed by local educational agencies and approved by  [****5]  state educational agencies. 20 U. S. C. § 3805(a). 4  [*405]  "To ] the extent consistent with the number of educationally deprived children in the school district of the local educational agency who are enrolled in private elementary and secondary schools, such agency shall make provisions for including special educational services and arrangements . . . in which such children  [***295]  can participate." § 3806(a). 5 [****7]  ] The proposed programs must also meet the following statutory requirements: the children involved in the program must be educationally deprived, § 3804(a), 6 the children must reside in areas comprising a high concentration of low-income families, § 3805(b), 7 and the programs must supplement,  [*406]  not supplant, programs that would exist absent funding under Title I. § 3807(b). 8

 [****8]  Since 1966, the City of New York has provided instructional services funded by Title I to parochial school students on the premises of parochial schools.  Of those students eligible to receive funds in 1981-1982, 13.2% were enrolled in private schools. Of that group, 84% were enrolled in schools affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn and 8% were enrolled in Hebrew day schools. With respect to the religious atmosphere of these schools, the Court of Appeals concluded that "the picture that emerges is of a system in which religious considerations play a key role in the selection of students and teachers, and which has as its substantial purpose the inculcation of religious values." 739 F.2d 48, 68 (CA2 1984).

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473 U.S. 402 *; 105 S. Ct. 3232 **; 87 L. Ed. 2d 290 ***; 1985 U.S. LEXIS 117 ****; 53 U.S.L.W. 5013


Subsequent History: Dissenting Opinion Reported at: 105 S. Ct. 3248.


Disposition:  739 F.2d 48, affirmed.


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