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LEMON v. KURTZMAN

November 28, 1969

ALTON J. LEMON, PRISCILLA REARDON, BETTY J. WORRELL, and PENNSYLVANIA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, PENNSYLVANIA CONFERENCE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, PENNSYLVANIA COUNCIL OF CHURCHES, PENNSYLVANIA JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS CONFERENCE, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC.
v.
DAVID H. KURTZMAN, as Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, GRACE SLOAN, as State Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ST. ANTHONY'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SCHOOL, ARCHBISHOP WOODS GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL, UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, GERMANTOWN LUTHERAN ACADEMY, AKIBA HEBREW ACADEMY, PHILADELPHIA MONTGOMERY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY, and BETH JACOBS SCHOOLS OF PHILADELPHIA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LUONGO; TROUTMAN

ALFRED L. LUONGO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

E. MAC TROUTMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 The present suit seeks to enjoin the alleged unconstitutional approval and expenditure of State funds under the Pennsylvania Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act *fn1" (hereinafter the Education Act). Since the complaint alleges the unconstitutionality of a statute of state-wide application, this three-judge panel has been convened. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281-84. *fn2"

 Jurisdiction is based on the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Presently before the Court are defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of standing and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

 The individual plaintiffs are citizens and taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and their claims are brought in that capacity. Plaintiff Lemon, in addition to being a citizen and taxpayer, is a Negro parent of a child attending public school in Pennsylvania. The organizational plaintiffs are associations of persons resident in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which "share as a common objective the separation of Church and State and the opposition to the use of public funds for the support in whole or in part of sectarian schools, or other private schools whose policies and practices, by purpose or effect, exclude or otherwise discriminate against persons by reason of race or religion." *fn3" The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) with which the plaintiff, Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP, is affiliated, "is an organization whose purpose is to seek the elimination of racial discrimination through resort to judicial proceedings and otherwise". *fn4" Each of the organizational plaintiffs asserts its standing to sue as a party-plaintiff in the instant suit.

 The defendant Kurtzman is the Pennsylvania Superintendent of Public Instruction who is responsible for approving the allocation of funds under the Pennsylvania Education Act. Defendant Sloan is the State Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who will allocate the approved funds. The seven defendant schools are sectarian elementary and secondary educational institutions situated within the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who have contracted with the Commonwealth for the purchase of secular educational services under the Education Act. *fn5"

 I.

 The Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

 The Education Act was signed into law by the Governor of Pennsylvania on June 19, 1968. The Act empowers the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to contract for the purchase of "secular educational services" from nonpublic schools located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which fulfill the compulsory school attendance requirements under Pennsylvania law.

 In its legislative findings an declaration of policy *fn6" the Pennsylvania Legislature has determined that a a crisis exists in elementary and secondary education in Pennsylvania due to rapid increases in costs and school population and consequent demands for more teachers and facilities. It was also found that twenty per cent of all elementary and secondary school children in Pennsylvania fulfill the requirements of the Commonwealth's compulsory school attendance laws in nonpublic schools. It has been further recognized that elementary and secondary education constitutes a public welfare purpose and that nonpublic education, by providing instruction in secular subjects, contributes significantly to the achievement of this public purpose. The Legislature, therefore, concluded that it is a governmental duty to support the achievement of this public welfare purpose by supporting the purely secular objectives of nonpublic education.

 Briefly, the operational scheme of the statute permits the Superintendent of Public Instruction to enter into contracts *fn7" with nonpublic schools, whether sectarian or nonsectarian, for the purchase of "secular educational services". These "secular educational services" are defined *fn8" to mean "providing of instruction in a secular subject", while secular subject is defined as "any course which is presented by the public schools of the Commonwealth and shall not include any subject-matter expressing religious teaching, or the morals or forms of worship of any sect". All purchases of secular educational services under the Education Act are to be at the "actual cost" of three items of such service: teacher salaries, textbooks and instructional materials. The Education Act further limits all purchases of secular educational services to courses in mathematics, modern foreign languages, physical science, and physical education. *fn9" As a condition for payment under the Act, the Superintendent of Public Instruction must approve all textbooks and instructional materials employed in the instruction rendered. In addition, a satisfactory level of student performance in standardized tests must have been attained and within five years of the date of the Act all secular educational services for which reimbursement is sought must be rendered by teachers holding State certification equal to the standard for teachers in public schools. *fn10"

 Payment under the Act in discharge of the contractual obligation may be made only after service has been rendered. Section 5607 (a) provides in relevant part that:

 
Any nonpublic school seeking such reimbursement shall maintain such accounting procedures, including maintenance of separate funds and accounts pertaining to the cost of secular educational service, as to establish that it actually expended in support of such service an amount of money equal to the amount of money sought in reimbursement. Such account shall be subject to audit by the Auditor General.

 Funds for the operation and administration of the Education Act are to be drawn only from the nonpublic elementary and secondary education fund. The monies comprising this fund are to be taken exclusively from the proceeds of State horse racing and harness racing. *fn11"

 Defendants, in their brief, have informed the Court that 1181 nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in Pennsylvania, having a total pupil population of 535,215 children, and located in 55 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, are now under contract with the Commonwealth pursuant to the Education Act. One year's performance under contract has now been rendered and, on September 2, 1969, the Commonwealth paid its first quarterly installment obligation.

 II

 Standing of the Individual and Organizational ...


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