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The Council of Great City Schools and four of its member districts last week challenged in federal court a key part of the U.S. Education Department's response to last year's4U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Aguilar v. Felton.

The urban schools filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Pulido v. Bennett, a broader suit against the department's response to Felton that was filed in September by Americans United for Separation of Church and State in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Missouri.

The suit seeks to block the department's order that extra administrative costs resulting from Felton--which barred Chapter 1 remedial-education teachers from religious8school classrooms--be taken "off the top" of a district's Chapter 1 allocation.

The districts contend in their brief that the added administrative costs should come out of the private-school portion of the Chapter 1 allocation, since these expenditures benefit private-school students exclusively and reduce the amount available to public-school pupils.

In addition to the council, which represents the nation's biggest urban districts, the brief was filed by the public-school systems of Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

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