A group of republican legislators want to establish a new tax credit for Iowans who donate to a scholarship fund for private elementary and high schools in Iowa. Father Tom Toale, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Dubuque archdiocese, says the state’s private schools make a contribution to the state. Toale says what they’re asking in return is for help in lightening the load for parents who pay the tuition for private school for their kids. Northwest Iowa Christian Schools superintendent Arlyn Schapp says the proposal helps increase “educational choice” in Iowa.Schapp says the proposal also “recognizes the sacrifice parents make for their children when they choose a non-public school.” Jeff Engle of Cedar Falls sends his three children to a parochial school. Engle says he and his wife chose a parochial school because St. Patrick’s in Cedar Falls offers their kids a quality education and opportunity to learn about their faith. He also says a non-public school offers great diversity as opposed to public schools which cover a neighborhood where kids come from similar social and economic situations.Engle says the bill would boost private schools’ scholarship funds and give more opportunity to more children to attend a private school. The tax credit would be for up to five-hundred dollars and the parent of a private school student could not make a donation and specify that it cover their kid’s tuition. The proposal will be considered in a Senate committee, but its future is uncertain as with tight state finances, lawmakers say it may take too much out of the state treasury.
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