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Posted: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 11:37 AM HST

ACLU claims Hawaii preschool aid unconstitutional

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii wants a court to order the state to stop providing preschool tuition subsidies for children attending religious institutions.

The ACLU claims in a lawsuit the state's Preschool Open Doors program unconstitutionally violates separation of church and state.

The program provides subsidies to qualified families so their children can attend licensed preschools.

The lawsuit filed earlier this week alleges the state is directly funneling public funds to religious institutions.

A Department of Human Services spokeswoman says officials are reviewing the lawsuit.

State Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Jill Tokuda tells the Honolulu Star-Advertiser it would have been preferable for the ACLU to bring their concerns to lawmakers.

She says the subsidy goes to the parent, who chooses where to enroll a child.

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