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The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear a case in which three church-run schools challenged reporting procedures required by the state department of education.

In declining last month to review the case, the high court let stand a 3-to-0 ruling by the state appeals court last summer upholding a county judge's dismissal of the church schools' challenge.

A lawyer for the church schools, Lee Boothby, said it was not clear whether the supreme court refused to hear the case on its merits or because there are several other similar cases it may one day review once they are done working their way through the state appeals court.

In the case at hand, Dixie Baptist Church v. Michigan State Board of Education, Dixie Baptist and two other Michigan churches that run elementary and secondary schools contended that the state's requirement that they report whether they have state-certified teachers violates their right to freedom of religion guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions.

There are no immediate practical implications of the court's refusal to hear the case, Mr. Boothby said last week. However, the cases now at the appellate level pertain to an injunction that could shut down the schools, including Dixie Baptist, for refusing to comply with the state mandates.

Decisions in those cases are at least a year away, Mr. Boothby said.

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