Newfoundland voters in a referendum, by a margin of 73 to 27 percent, favor a government takeover of the Canadian province's public-school system, run by churches for the past 277 years.

The new system will still allow religious instruction. Newfoundland is the only province in Canada that does not have a public-school system operated by the government.

Roman Catholic and Pentecostal churches campaigned vigorously against the move. The vote will not affect the current school year. And the change will require a constitutional amendment.

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