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N.Y. Governor Pushes School Tax Credit Plan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has announced that he intends to push a tax-credit program that would subsidize tuition at private schools. Under the proposed scheme, taxpayers would receive a cut by donating directly to private school scholarship funds.

The measure has been criticized as a neo-voucher program. Cuomo has been campaigning for it in synagogues and churches, and leaders of the Catholic Church have indicated support for the scheme. Read more

‘Choice’ Charade: N.Y. Governor Slams ‘Manhattan Liberals’ For Supporting Church-State Separation In Neo-Voucher Battle

What does rent control in New York City have to do with tax credits that would be used to support religious schools? Quite a bit, at least as far as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is concerned.

In a move that can best be described as desperate, Cuomo initially tied together a piece of legislation that would renew expiring rent control laws with the creation of a new tuition tax credit program. Read more

State Officials Examine N.Y. School District Run By Orthodox Jews

For years, a New York community’s public school system has been drained of resources by school board members who are more interested in assisting sectarian institutions than in improving public education. But thanks to complaints from angry residents, the state has finally assigned a financial monitor to oversee the board’s activities. Read more

School Swindle: N.Y. Board Makes Private Education Its Top Priority

A New York community provides a frightening example of what can happen when sectarian interests that don’t really care about public education gain control of taxpayer-funded schools that are meant to serve all.

The controversy centers on the East Ramapo Central School District in Rockland County. The area is home to a large concentration of Orthodox Jews, and they dominate the local school board. Seven of the board's nine members are Orthodox men. Read more

A Little List: The Top Ten Church-State Stories Of 2013

It’s that time of year when people are compiling lists. So let’s look at the Top Ten Church-State Stories of 2013.

1. Greece, N.Y., prayer case argued before U.S. Supreme Court: An Americans United-sponsored lawsuit challenging legislative prayer in the city of Greece, N.Y., reached the Supreme Court. Read more

Public School Proselytizing Prohibited: Federal Appeals Court Rejects New Prayer Scheme

Some people who advocate coercive school prayer are relentless. They’re always coming up with a new scheme to impose their preferred form of worship onto impressionable public school students.

Sometimes they even try to use children to spread religious messages in schools. Yesterday, a federal appeals court put the brakes on this latest effort to compel prayer in schools. Read more

Shrine Settlement: NY Religious Site Won’t Take Taxpayer Aid

Americans United’s legal staff endeavors to resolve church-state conflicts outside of court whenever possible. Today I’m happy to report on one of those victories.

In late March, Americans United received a complaint from Montgomery County, N.Y., concerning the Board of Supervisor’s plan to give a $750 grant to a shrine in Fultonville. The Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs is dedicated to Kateri Tekakwitha, a member of the Mohawk tribe who converted to Catholicism in the 17th Century.  Read more