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Maine is able to fund tuition for some non secular college college students for the primary time since a Supreme Court ruling in June ordered the state to deal with these faculties the identical as different personal faculties concerning tuition reimbursement.
Cheverus Excessive Faculty, a Jesuit school preparatory college in Portland, was the one non secular college to use for participation within the state’s tuition reimbursement plan and its utility was authorised by the state, a state official mentioned Thursday.
Carroll Conley, government director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, mentioned he is inspired by the primary tuition reimbursements for a spiritual college because the Nineteen Eighties in Maine.
“We’re hopeful and inspired that (others) may have the ability to discover a path to take part” subsequent yr, he mentioned.
There was no quick remark from Cheverus, which is a Roman Catholic college however just isn’t ruled by the Diocese of Portland.
There have been a number of lawsuits over time because the state ended tuition reimbursements to non secular college earlier than the Supreme Courtroom dominated that Maine cannot exclude non secular faculties from a program that provides tuition for personal schooling in cities the place there are not any public high schools.
The Supreme Courtroom’s 6-3 choice was the newest in a line of rulings by the court docket which have favored religion-based discrimination claims. It may gasoline a renewed push for college alternative packages in quite a few states which have up to now haven’t directed taxpayer cash to personal, non secular schooling.
Regardless of the victory, non secular faculties are taking a cautious method after Maine Legal professional Basic Aaron Frey mentioned all faculties accepting public funds should abide by the Maine Human Rights Act.
The act bans discrimination on the premise of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or incapacity. That would come with accepting homosexual and transgender academics and college students, which may battle with some non secular faculties’ beliefs.
Within the Maine case that led to excessive court docket’s ruling, mother and father sued in federal court docket to have the ability to use state assist to ship their kids to Christian faculties in Bangor and Waterville. The 2 faculties in query — Temple Academy in Waterville and Bangor Christian Faculties — have insurance policies that discriminate on a foundation of sexual orientation or gender identification, Frey has mentioned.
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