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Court upholds New Mexico law that provides textbooks to private schools

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SANTA FE, New Mexico — The state Court of Appeals has upheld the constitutionality of a decades-old law that calls for the state to provide textbooks and other instructional material to private and religious schools.

The court ruled Monday the law doesn't violate a state constitutional provision barring taxpayer money from being used to support any "sectarian, denominational or private school."

That prohibition, the court said, is to ensure the state controls the public education system and public schools don't become sectarian.

The court said the textbooks are secular, and private schools do not own the instructional material because the state "controls its use and disposition." The program is for the benefit of students, the court concluded.

The ruling upheld a decision by a state district court judge in Santa Fe.

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