Iowa Catholics are protesting Governor Vilsack’s proposal to dramatically cut the state aid that pays to bus students to parochial schools. Just over eight million dollars of state money was spent this year to provide a ride to nonpublic students in Iowa. Vilsack proposes spending 70 percent less next year. Iowa Catholic Conference executive director Thomas Feld says parents are already making a major sacrifice by paying tuition. He says parents just can’t afford another fee, and they’ll put their kids in a public school — which could force some Catholic schools to close.Vilsack says transportation subsidies should only go to poor families who’re sending their kids to a private school. Feld says that goes against a 27-year state policy.There are about 42-thousand students enrolled in Iowa’s parochial schools. Catholic Bishops from Des Moines, Davenport and Dubuque held news conferences today to express opposition to Vilsack’s idea. The Catholic Bishop for Sioux City will hold a news conference tomorrow.
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