Stay Denied in 'Shared-Time' Case

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A federal appeals court refused last week to restore a "shared-time'' program through which the Grand Rapids, Mich., public schools offered supplemental classes to private-school students.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied a stay that would have enabled the district to offer the program this school year. A U.S. district judge had ruled earlier that the program promoted church-state entanglement. (See Education Week, Aug. 25, 1982.)

According to William S. Farr, a lawyer for the Grand Rapids school board, the appellate panel concluded that the trial judge "did not abuse his discretion" in ordering a halt to the program and that the district was unlikely to win on the merits.

The district will continue its appeal, Mr. Farr said. The Sixth Circuit has not scheduled a hearing on the merits of the case.

Since the mid-1970's, the Grand Rapids public school system has rented classroom space in private schools and provided teachers for remedial and "enrichment" courses. Last year, about 10,000 students participated, at a cost of $3 million.

Mr. Farr said some of the private schools have hired teachers to provide classes in art and physical education this school year. But "the nonpublic-school kids just aren't getting" remedial classes in reading and mathematics, he said.

Vol. 02, Issue 02

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